Check out Kerrang! magazine's Ian Winwood's incredible review of Machine Head's new album, "Unto The Locust"!
UNTO THE LOCUST
OAKLAND RAIDERS RETURN WITH REMARKABLE NEW RELEASE
In the studio at which Machine Head recorded Unto The Locust, the Bay Area quartet's seventh studio album, there lay a large collection of vinyl LP's. As none of the group's members owned a record player, these 12 inch discs were viewed as something of a curiosity, and were pored over with uncommon attention to detail. On one occasion bandleader Robb Flynn happened to be perusing a latter-day album by Bob Dylan, the sleevenotes of which asked the artist how, after so many years, he managed to find the inspiration to continue writing songs. The answer, according to the Minnesota born genius, was simple: it's all about finding new ways to say the same thing.
Prior to recording their latest set, Machine Head had to their credit two world class albums: 1994's Burn My Eyes, the group's first release, and 2007's The Blackening. With Unto The Locust, the band has their third. Clocking in at a relatively svelte 48 minutes, this seven song offering is a piece that is trimmed of every gramme of fat, leaving only sinew and muscle – that and the organ that is the beating heart of progressive, modern metal.
Time was that the music Machine Head played was seen as being on the fringes of this genre's mainstream. With a date at London's Wembley Arena on the docket, today it finds itself occupying the centre ground. But while Robb Flynn may believe that Unto the Locust's job of work is to find a new vocabulary for familiar themes, really this is only part of the story. For while sections of this album make good use of known themes – This Is The End, for one, is a key example of the forensic thrash this band do as well as any, and better than almost all – elsewhere the authors can be found stretching their limbs into the unknown. Two songs in particular stand out as masterpieces, rendered all the better for being different from the kind of music one might associate with its creators. Darkness Within simmers with a quality for which Machine Head have never before been known: subtlety. Better yet is closing track Who We Are, a mountainous and majestic creation that is both as undeniable as the pull of gravity and as infectious as an airbourne disease. Kerry King once said of his own band that he desired for Slayer to be regarded as "the AC/DC of thrash", meaning that listeners would get from the group exactly what they expected. And while Unto The Locust has much within it that will appeal to unreconstructed customers, parts of this work showcase a unit whose creative appetites are still restless and free. It is this quality that sets Machine Head apart from the chasing pack, and which makes their latest album an offering worthy not only of one's time but also of one's respect.
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