Sound — 10
The sound of "The Blackening" is beautiful, angry, and full of tone. This album may be considered the album of the decade. "The Blackening" represents this generation's return to true metal. The sound of Machine Head will crush you at certain points and then draw you into a beautiful melodic sense. Whether you've heard Machine Head before, or just like metal, you will respect this album. There is a large thrash influence on this record. The guitar tone on this album is incredible, the cleans have a slight flanger with delay, making them sound distant and mysterious, yet drawing you in to listen closer. The heavy distortion will blow your mind. This album has incredible tone, beautiful cleans, and uniquely crafted solos that will make you simply go "wow."
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics on this album are influenced by the world around us. They were not written neccesarily to inspire us to but to make us think. The album obviously is very political with songs such as "Clenching the Fists of Dissent" and "A Farewell to Arms", obviously relating to the horrors of war. "Beautiful Mourning" is written possibly about a murder/rape and find yourself waking up to see this tragedy the next morning. "Aesthetics of Hate" is written about an article that said anyone mourning the loss of Dimebag Darrell was pathetic and ugly, it was also written to symbolize the opression that many listeners to heavy metal encounter. "Now I Lay Thee Down" is written as a Romeo & Juliet brought into modern context, possibly written to show the suffering a spouse or child can go through when they find out their father/husband has lost his life in war. "Slanderous" is written about social opression and stereotypes a person can receive, simply because of a person's race or what they choose to do in life. "Halo" is a song describing organized-religion and how it can cause one to be blind, by following words that you are told, whether they be truthful or not. "Wolves" describes Machine Head's "Winner Take All Spirit" and savageness of their fans. The singing style of Robb Flynn is not melodic, but very angry, but somehow makes almost perfect sense when put in context with the lyrics and music style. They are heavily thrashed influnced vocals, but are not purely thrash as exemplified on songs such as "Now I Lay Thee Down." The vocal styling would be strange if it were any different on this album.
Overall Impression — 10
This album is certainly a beacon of light in today's scene of what people consider "metal." The songs "clenching the Fists of Dissent" and "A Farewell to Arms" are the most diverse songs on this album, demonstrating multiple vocal and musical styles. "Aesthetics of Hate" is commonly considered the song that best represents a true metal anthem on this album. There are no fillers on this album, every song serves as a transition to the next while remaining an incredible song in it's own right. There is nothing you can hate on this album! If you are a person who cannot stand the truth or cannot stand "bad" words, you will find this album very offensive, but if you listen to it the way it was written, it will make you think twice about everything you see in the media and the world today. This is is still the album to own a year after it's release.