Sound — 6
Now to me, when the band Machine Head are mentioned in conversation, I automatically think of there iconic album Burn My Eyes and start drueling and feeling a bit peculiar below the knees! For me, the sound of that album was not only a shining example to the style of music popular at the time, but encapsulates the intensity and aggression behind every not made to make the record. For The Blackening, I feel the sound lets the it down, and it doesn't convey the message that the band seem to want to put across as well as it could do. I appreciate that due to the media hype over this record, they probably wouldn't have been allowed to release a record that sounded as 'dirty' as Burn My Eyes or The More Things Change, I think this is a crying shame, and love to one day hear the tracks of The Blackening mixed as though they had been recorded ten years ago. Admittedly, this is a very personal preference, and there will probably be a long line of people ready to try and shoot my ideas down in flames. If you like albums to sound incredibly polished and 'smooth', then you will have no problem with this album. If, like me, you like the aggressive sound of albums such as Burn My Eyes, The Great Southern Trendkill and anything by Hatebreed, then I think the sound of this album is something you might be a little disappointed with.
Lyrics — 8
As always with Robb Flynn, his lyrics are emotionally truthful, contemporary, and politically astute. Though this band (which I must point out is possibly my favourite metal band in existance)has had it's trouble's with relatively unsuccessful albums, lyrical content ha never been a problem. The lyrics in The Blackening bring to mind the impact of the media, organised religion, and current warfare across the world. After I listened to this album several times, I still felt I hadn't completely grasped some of the compelling lies within some of the songs, I don't find this a bad thing! They are the sort of lyrics that aren't as black and white as a lot of bands lyrics can be, they allow to ponder the issues being sung about, and realise the exact message trying to be put across.
Overall Impression — 7
Overall, young kids who have never hear of Pantera, Anthrax and early Machine Head records will get a hold of this album, and love it to bits. It's inevitable that albums nowadays have to try and incorperate 'what sells', and it's for this reason that there is more guitar-based soloing and harmonic riffage than ever really heard on a Machine Head Record. (I blame Trivium). There are some absolutely storming tracks on this album. Wolves, which to me seems to be a tribute to Metallica, is a trash metal song that will never get old. Also, tracks like 'Beautiful Mourning', 'Halo' and 'Aesthetics of Hate' really seend the message through the music that the band are mightally pissed off. Unfortunately, other tracks such as 'Slanderous' and 'Clenching the Fists of Descent' are disappointing for me. The first track on the album 'Clenching the Fists of Descent', just seems to be 'Imperium' Part II, structurally, musically, and ideologically. I didn't want to hear 'Imperium' the sequel! In conclusion, I like this album, I like all Machine Head albums, but I was more disappointed than I hoped I wasn't going to be.