Archive for September 22nd, 2011


Music Review: Machine Head – Unto The Locust (2011)

Looks like someone in hell heard my complaints about the lack of quality thrash metal in my life, and it sure sounds like it. The shortage of chugging guitars, memorable licks, solid grooves, killer solos, thumping bass and pounding drums – the dearth of everything that made me a fan of thrash metal along with a curiosity for more morbid sounds and the need to reach deeper emotional states drew me towards death metal and black metal respectively. Thrash Metal still doesn’t sound as convincingly morbid as Death Metal unless we’re talking about Slayer, and Black Metal is all one needs to reach emotional heights and also plunge into its depths.

Machine Head’s 2011 album Unto The Locust is that beast which smashes its way into the soul with everything thrash metal needs to be. Modern and yet fully traditional, Robb Flynn & Co. mean business right from the first note of ‘I Am Hell (Sonata In C#)’, dragging the listener on a wild, thrilling ride of superb thrash metal, complete with rowdy riffing, perfectly timed breaks, thunderous double bass drumming, dazzling solos and boisterous vocals.

Thrash Metal is meant to be ballsy – even Anthrax manage to sound likeable when they get ballsy – but Machine Head in 2011 is pushing the boundaries with so much force that the titans of thrash (Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer) will have to match this intensity to prove their relevance.

Balls to you if you think this is ‘nu-metal’; Machine Head is modern thrash metal: polished and yet rougher than every other thrash metal great right now. There is nothing stale on Unto The Locust, not one dull moment, and in fact, it’s the most refreshing music I’ve heard so far this year.

Just listen to what they’ve done with Judas Priest’s ‘The Sentinel’ and Rush’s ‘Witch Hunt’ – it’s one great band covering two. These are bonus tracks on the special edition, with an acoustic version of ‘Darkness Within’ thrown in. Here’s a band I could never get into despite liking two of their albums quite a bit, and I’m embracing them now. Machine Head‘s Unto The Locust is a contender for album of the year. ‘Music, it will set you free.’


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September 2011
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