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MACHINE HEAD - BLOODSTONE & DIAMONDS REVIEW 2014

 

MACHINE HEAD - BLOODSTONE & DIAMONDS

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS

NOVEMBER 11 2014

 

 


It's hard to believe there was a period in Machine Head's career where things didn't seem that crash hot with the band, The Burning Red and the late 1990's and early 2000's just didn't seem to cut it for a lot of fans but things turned a corner when Through The Ashes Of Empires came out followed by the epic The Blackening, considered one of, if not the greatest album in the band's history (Yes I will put it up against the legendary Burn My Eyes record easily). It's been a pretty consistent run since and their latest effort "Bloodstone And Diamonds" continues that energy that the band have been delivering.

 

In many ways, this is a better album than the previous one "Unto The Locust". Where that album came across as a transition of sorts following the monster that was "The Blackening", this new album finds it's footing as being simply a solid, well rounded record. A short violin intro starts things off before the signature sound of Machine Head kicks off with "Now We Die" which although not the title track, is probably the song that would be if not for the title itself. With a groove tempo and a melodic catchy chorus, this is typical Machine Head style. A strong opener with that distinct sound the band are known for. "Killers And Kings" won't be completely new to everyone as it was first released a while ago as a demo version and while it sounded decent then, this final version is a much more slicker, improved cut. This will go over pretty well live when the world tour starts so it's obvious why this song was put out. "Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones" slips into slightly 90's Machine Head with a typical mellow/heavy contrast of the verse/chorus theme but the mid-section of this track is the strongest part before tapering off a bit towards the end. "Night Of Long Knives" throws a bit of thrash into the mix with a huge chorus line that will sure to get the fans singing along on this one. "Sail Into The Black" is a fairly dark song in an almost depressive way, it's first half soft but dreary before the 2nd half kicks in with some pummelling double kicks by drummer Dave McClain who always does a superb job behind the kit. The heavy to mellow contrast flows in and out almost like floating in and out of unconciousness which works effectively and adds to the darkness of the song. More thrash stuff is thrown in with "Eyes Of The Dead" which has a solo section reminiscent of Metallica's classic thrasher "Battery" which the band had also previously covered. If anyone was looking for more Blackening type tracks, this one would fit quite easily on that album. "Beneath The Silt" is a heavy, slower groove song which showcases Machine Head's varying styles on just one album as does "In Comes The Flood" which is a more melodic track and "Damage Inside" which is easily the most mellow song on the album and gives the listener a break from the crushing riffs that are expelled from this lengthy tracklist. Rob Flynn's vocal performance is the main feature on this song which is highlighted by the quiteness of everything else playing around his voice. "Game Over" has probably the best opening riff on the album, the chugging downpick apearing solo in time with Rob's vocals. An instrumental piece makes it's appearance near the end of the album. Titled "Imaginal Cells", it's a political song with quotes from what appears to be news broadcasts mixed into the track. As far as instrumentals go, this is probably the only real downside to the whole album. In direct contrast to this, the final song "Take Me Through The Fire" is the strongest song on the album which is surprising given it's the last song but I guess the band wanted to finish things off with a bang which they definitely did here. The groove tempo is perfect and the main riff undeniably memorable.

 

"Bloodstone And Diamonds" is probably not quite on par with "The Blackening"" or "Burn My Eyes" but then it's hard to top perfection really. But this album does not sound forced like the band is trying to prove something. They have already proved it and this album just continues what they have set to achieve. Newcomer Jared MacEachern makes his debut with the band on this one and his performance is as solid as it can get. Any fan of Machine Head at this point is going to dig this album because it's really another solid effort by one of the greatest metal bands on the planet right now.

 

 

by Andrew Schizodeluxe

 

MACHINE HEAD - BLOODSTONE & DIAMONDS - HARD ROCK ALBUM REVIEW 2014