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Album Review: Machine Head - ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN
Machine Head are one of those bands who have a fiercely loyal fanbase and repeatedly max out gig venues. However, even the most hardcore of Machine Head fans will admit that the band appeared to have peaked with 2007’s The Blackening. Apart from a handful of tracks here and there throughout the years and the departure of long-time members Phil Demmel and Dave McClain, the future of Machine Head seemed to be in the balance. That is, until the release of “ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN“ and this new reincarnation of Machine Head is bringing a whole new vigour to their legacy.
SLAUGHTER THE MARTYR is a 10 minute long monster of an opener with melancholic melodies cascading in to a bludgeoning force of riffing brutality. Hang in there as the melancholy vibes of a single guitar tone and hauntingly emotive vocals last a good 3 minutes or so before it kicks off and rips your face from your skull. The drums are thunderous, the riffs are flying all over the place and the solos are soaring with Robb Flynn’s vocals taking to prisoners in the process. With catchy hooks and chant-worthy choruses, this track surges forward and doesn’t feel like the 10 minute long onslaught that it is. CHØKE ØN THE ASHES ØF YØUR HATE and BECØME THE FIRESTØRM are both nods back to Machine Head‘s golden The Blackening era with all the rapid, thrashy goodness and signature pinch harmonics. Drastically shorter tracks compared to the opener but they don’t pack any less a punch.
ØVERDØSE is the first interlude, phasing in with an unnerving flatlining heartbeat monitor, distorted whispering and an anguished scream blending in to MY HANDS ARE EMPTY; a sombre yet evocative brutal ballad of sorts mired in gloomy melodies interspersed with chugging riffage. UNHALLØWED offers more melancholy vocal melodies but changes the pace with a mid-tempo beat and firey solos. ASSIMILATE is the second interlude of the record urging the listener to fight for no one else will bleeding straight in to KILL THY ENEMIES; a groove-induced, chugging track with a darker undertone. NØ GØDS, NØ MASTERS twists and turns between soft melodies and rapid ferocity whereas BLØØDSHØT pushes on with heavy intensity.
As the record shoots towards its conclusion, RØTTEN demonstrates sheer, thundering rage, ferocious riffage, heavy basslines and more signature pinch harmonics. TERMINUS is the final distorted interlude gently phasing in to ARRØWS IN WØRDS FRØM THE SKY. An epically cinematic record closer full of soaring, emotive melodies and dark themes; a classic Machine Head conclusion ending the record on a strong note.
With a new lineup and a fresh reincarnation of a band many had thought couldn’t top the popularity that was The Blackening, Machine Head have well and truly burst forth and proven that they still have what it takes to destroy their own past achievements. “ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN” was a hugely anticipated record for 2022 and it didn’t disappoint.
Released By: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: 26th August 2022
For Fans Of: Pantera, Lamb of God, Metallica
Favourite Tracks: SLAUGHTER THE MARTYR, CHØKE ØN THE ASHES ØF YOUR HATE, UNHALLØWED, NØ GØDS NØ MASTERS, RØTTEN