Go behind-the-scenes with Machine Head as they record their new album "Unto The Locust" in this third part of the web series, featuring never-before-heard snippets of new songs!
An incredible track-by-track breakdown of Machine Head's upcoming album "Unto The Locust" (in stores September 27th), by Metal Hammer scribe Dom Lawson:
I AM HELL (SONATA IN C#)
It starts with an eerie acapella intro, sung in Latin by a multi-layered Robb Flynn and drenched in reverb, before erupting into a devastatingly heavy opening riff that, as Hammer's underground guru Jonathan Selzer rightly states, “sounds a lot like Triptykon”. So far, so mind-bending. And then, Machine Head kick into gear. I Am Hell takes off like a fucking rocket; a storm of ferociously fast and brutal thrash riffing interspersed with crushing, doom-laden choruses, it’s pretty much the darkest and heaviest thing the band have ever done. Robb Flynn sounds absolutely fucking deranged as he spits out the lyrics which recount the crimes and bug-eyed rage of a female arsonist. At around the six minute mark, the all-out assault recedes and is replaced by some fragile, medieval-sounding acoustic guitar, before exploding again into a destructive slow-motion doom riff. At over eight minutes in length this is the longest track on Unto The Locust but it flies by in what seems like a fraction of that time. A stunning start by any sane standards.
BE STILL AND KNOW
Major Maiden vibes kick off track two, thanks to a tapped riff that is strongly reminiscent of the UK legends’ Wasted Years. What follows is unmistakably Machine Fucking Head, however, as a pounding, pendulous groove underpins Robb Flynn’s impassioned lyric about tough times and how to negotiate your way through them. When the gloriously anthemic and stirring chorus kicks in, you will have to be either daft, deaf or dead to resist throwing your hands towards the sky. With a multi-part mid-section that shoots off in all manner of directions, with stops, starts, blazing lead breaks and juddering percussive punctuations, this is far from a simple song, but its overall sentiment of trusting that the sun will rise and that you have the strength to make it through life’s shittier moments is irresistible. It’s hard to imagine another band pulling it off with such skill.
You’ve already heard this, right? Well, unless you’re a big mental, you will already know that this is one of the most powerful tracks that Machine Head have ever recorded. Predominantly mid-paced and defiantly melodic, it’s also deceptively complex and features numerous sublime moments of interplay between the four members of the band, most notably Flynn and Phil Demmel, who harmonize gloriously during the song’s extended mid-section. And let’s face it, the pulverising sort-of-breakdown at the end of the song is worth the price of admission on its own, isn’t it?
THIS IS THE END
The first song to be written for this album and arguably the one that most succinctly encapsulates where Machine Head are in musical terms right now, this proud and vicious epic starts with an elegiac classical guitar intro before exploding into life with a magnificent Dave McClain drum fill and a single-string guitar motif that sounds like a cross between Satyricon’s Mother North and Muse’s Plug-In Baby. Possibly. The rest of the song is an all-out assault comprising flat-out thrash riffing, clattering blastbeats, some astonishing solos from both Flynn and Demmel and another soaring, instant sing-along chorus that brilliantly showcases how much stronger Robb Flynn’s voice has become over the years. And by Christ, he sounds fucking pissed off. Excellent work.
Like Descend The Shades Of Night before it, Darkness Within is very obviously the mood-shifting curveball on Unto The Locust. A brooding, heartfelt and emotionally charged paean to Flynn’s life as a musician and the intense relationship he has with music itself, it boasts the finest lyrics that the frontman has ever penned, but it’s also one of the most musically adventurous tracks of Machine Head’s career to date. Beginning with simple, staccato acoustic guitar chord sequence and Flynn’s passionate vocal, it builds and builds, before erupting into epic metal splendour when the second chorus kicks in. From then on, this is an exercise in grandiose power as brutal, syncopated riffs rain down amid Flynn’s bellowed cries of “Music, my saviour!” Holy. Fucking. Shit. An instant classic.
PEARLS BEFORE THE SWINE
Perhaps the strangest track on Unto The Locust, this structural oddball comes across as a bewildering collage of monstrous metal riffs, held together by Flynn’s incensed vocals and the overwhelming tightness of Machine Head’s rhythm section. There is no shortage of hooks here, but this is a darker, weirder and less purposefully accessible song that adds great substance and weight to the album’s overall vibe. It ends with what is almost certainly the heaviest string of riffs on the entire album, as the song fades to bile-flecked black...
WHO WE ARE
Okay, so you probably never expected to hear children singing on a Machine Head album, but given the unsentimental and ambiguous nature of what they’re singing (“This is who we are/This is what I am/We have nowhere else to go/Divided we will stand…”) in the intro to this gloriously epic and grandiloquent album closer and taking into consideration that the kids concerned belong to Robb Flynn, Phil Demmel and studio engineer Juan Urteaga, it’s hard to deny that Machine Head have pulled it off with considerable audacity. What follows is one of the most musically triumphant and bombastic things the band have ever recorded, with shades of everyone from Maiden and Priest through to Carcass and At The Gates combining to create a celebratory, none-more-metal denouement to this frankly extraordinary follow-up to The Blackening. Again, the chorus is ridiculously huge and utterly infectious. At one point Robb Flynn sings “Into glory we will ride!”, thus earning himself maximum metal points and a free loincloth. The song ends with some elegant strings and a very tangible sense of a job well done. Have Machine Head topped The Blackening? Yup. They really have.
PRE-ORDER "UNTO THE LOCUST" NOW!
You can now pre-order Machine Head's upcoming album "Unto The Locust" in an exclusive Special Edition bundle that includes the 2-disc CD/DVD Special Edition of the album featuring 3 bonus tracks and expanded artwork, an exclusive "Unto The Locust" t-shirt, and a digital download of the album a day before it's released! Click here to pre-order now!
Metal Hammer are set to release an exclusive edition of Machine Head's next album "Unto The Locust" in the UK as a special edition album Fanpack! As well as the album itself and an exclusive live bonus track of the song "Locust", the pack comes complete with a 132-page special issue, including exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the making of the new album, extensive interviews with every band member, never-before-seen historic shots from the band's personal collections, a guide to their custom rigs, and a diary of their massive Mayhem tour happening this summer, this is the ultimate companion to the long-awaited follow-up to "The Blackening", Metal Hammer's album of the decade! And that's not all. This exclusive Fanpack also includes a 100% official patch, Machine Head bottle opener key ring, and two posters, one of which will include everyone's name who pre-orders this Fanpack before August 15th!* This is your chance to be part of Machine Head history!
"This is gonna be fucking awesome! It's ridiculous," says Robb Flynn of the venture. "I can't believe that there's going to be a magazine about us with a special edition of our new album. It's pretty mindblowing, really. It's something really fuckin' cool for the fans, and it's something incredible for us too. We're all really stoked on this new record and we can't wait for everyone to hear what we've been doing in the studio. Releasing it this way on newsstands (not just record stores) makes it way cooler! You guys know how to make magazines, man! People over here in the US need to look at the UK and how you make magazines. You guys make people care about this stuff and you're real music fans. Get your niche and fuckin' ride it! People want cool shit and cool interviews. We're pumped about the whole idea!"
While this fantastic package is available to fans worldwide, UK fans should note that this special Fanpack edition of the album will be the only version of the album available in the UK for the first month after release, so pre-order yours now to ensure yourself a copy!
* Please Note: If you do not wish to be part of the pre-order exclusive personalized poster, please place your order after August 15th. We will use the name given during checkout at time of payment. If you are giving the pack as a gift or wish to change the name please contact email@example.com before August 15th.
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