The Blackening review by Machine Head

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  • Released: Mar 27, 2007
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.6 (425 votes)
Machine Head: The Blackening

Sound — 10
Before I ever bought this album, Machine Head was just a metal band whose name I'd heard of countless times. Their brutal live reputation lead me to buy this CD last year, and I must say that this is still one of the best musical purchases I'd ever made. The music is everything that I love in metal: fast, thrashy, heartfelt and more shout-screaming vocals, great low-end, and probably some of the best drums I've heard production wise and skill wise. The songwriting is just so dead on amazing. Nowadays, there are so many bands that play too melodically, some play really dirty, and some try to really blend the two well but not successfully. I feel that for a record, not only has Machine Head done this with flying colors, but they've seriously made quite the epic record. 01.Clenching The Fists of Dissent: probably one of the craziest songs I've ever heard in modern metal. The intro starts off with this atmospheric, yet eery Middle Eastern vocal styling (which I guess is being done by Robb Flynn? ) and then into this classical guitar melody fortified by war-like beating snares. My favorite part of the song is definitely the 7-10 track layered crowd chant of "FIGHT! FIGHT!" because it just brought the song to a whole new level of bad ass. And the breakdown at the end is just incredible. 02.Beautiful Mourning: the first riff ensues while there is a hesitant guitar scratching going on until things finally tighten up. By the time Robb goes "f--k YOU ALL," all of Hell breaks loose with the pummeling guitars and blistering double bass. What I really liked the most about this certain song is the guitar melodies on the chorus-like part, "This lifetime in sorrow, God let the angels die... " Robb and Adam's vocals really come together and compliment each other on this part. 03.Aesthetics of Hate: there's only one word that can really describe this song: rage. Right from the fading in drum beat, one could only imagine the chaos that would come shortly after. When it comes to guitar work, Robb and Phil just bring on the thrash and the dirty riffs on this part, while adding in the glorious intricate guitar harmonies and solos. Robb's visceral and barking vocals really shine in this song. 04.Now I Lay Thee Down: the clean eery guitar in the beginning draws the listener in to a bludgeoning 3/4 melodic wall of guitars and drums. The tom work in the verses really bring the eeriness of this song out while the guitars lay low. Robb's vocals, once again, shine through because not only can he scream in pitch like a champ, but he also has very awesome clean singing abilities. This definitely comes out in the chorus, strongly back by soaring melodies from the guitars. The solos, while short, are extremely complimentary to the song. 05.Slanderous: this song is just plain dirty and heavy. From the moment the whole band goes into the first riff, everything is just ridiculously heavy. The breakdown that goes after the first chorus is by far one of my favorites in this album because of the shrill chords inbetween the palm mutes. The solo work, as always, is nothing short of astonishing. 06.Halo: the clean, ambient intro leads into one of the dirtiest and heaviest riffs I've heard on this album. Followed by face melting guitar harmonies and solos and rib-sticking moshy-riffs, this song is nothing short of epic. Not only that, it's extremely well written and free-flowing. The solos in this song are absolutely off the wall as well. 07.Unleash The Wolves: awesome song all around, but it's a little flawed in my opinion. There are some times that it can get a bit repetitive with the part of "unleash The Wolves! Carnage Has No Rules... " The guitar work on here though is absolutely killer. There is a breakdown in this song that is just absolutely tight and in the pocket. And what can I say, Rob's vocals are just that awesome that they push this song to it's heaviest extent! 08.A Farewell To Arms: the most epic song I've heard to date. An undisputed anthemic and melodic masterpiece with clean and then heavy guitar work, awesome drum work, and the best example of Rob's vocal diversity on this album. For a song that's 10:13, people would think that they'd lose interest and attention within five minutes; no freakin' way, this song has you pretty much hooked throughout the whole thing. The song ends in a very Metallica-esque freight train fashion which all the more compliments the song and drives it home.

Lyrics — 10
When it comes to overall lyrical impressions, this has to be Rob Flynn's finest yet. From watching the Making of The Blackening on the website, he stated that there's so much stuff out there in our country and the world that could make someone so angry that why would he just write about heartache like everyone else? His lyrics have always been very dark yet passionate, political and personal; but The Blackening is by far the perfect blend of both those realms, whether it be from the stampeding war anthem of "Clenching The Fists of Dissent" to the dark and eery "Now I Lay Thee Down". Out of all the songs though, my favorite one will have to be "A Farewell To Arms." The lyrics in that song are so deep, dark, and pensive, circulating around the losses experienced from the war, but then ridden with rage and resolve. One line that really caught me was "Who has won when we're all dead" not only because it's deep, but it's sung in such a way that even though it's a small line, it has such emotion and meaning to it. The overall compliance of the lyrics to the songs is just downright perfect, and I could not imagine them in any other way. Rob's singing has been an influence to metal singers all around, especially to incoming thrash metal bands such as Trivium and BFMV. His overall deliverance of the lines is just spot on perfect. Watching him in the studio (on the documentary), he really put forward his best performance in each song. His diverse range from the thrashy, shouting, yet on pitch singing to the soaring, clean vocals comes out perfectly on this record.

Overall Impression — 10
There have been many bands that I've liked and checked out, but neither of them have such a standing in my mind as Machine Head. "The Blackening" won Best Metal Album 2007 from Metal Hammer, what more could you expect? In this record, they've captured the best of what they do, from the writing to capturing the live aspects. For me, this album is a perfect listen, and if anyone stole it I'd buy it again.

16 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This album has made Machine Head wouldnt see them in stuff like kerrang until recently...great album, not overrated - they get a lot of attention now cos its their masterpiece.
    Kastm wrote: Pingis_Or_Death wrote: One of the most overrated albums I've hever heard. That post absolutely must be a joke. There is no way you're being serious.
    to add more emphasis to my previous point, you cannot be serious. The Blackening is just a mind bogglingly outstanding album, theres one less than mediocre track (beautiful mourning, thankfully the shortest track on the album) but the rest are just colossal. Every single riff is just perfect and dont even get me started on how amazing the drumming is.
    Metal Onslaught
    I would have to say I almost shit myself when I first herd this album. Honestly, I jizzed in my pants. There are more than a handful of killer riffs in every song,and for long songs, they don't seem to get boring at any point. What is even better than this album thought, is seeing Machine Head perform this shit live. Totally awesome dudes... totally awesome. If you dont own this album, then wtf are you waiting for? join the revolution bitches and buy this god-damn album
    This album OWNS. Although it doesn't work if you listen to individual songs unlike Through The Ashes Of Empires. But yeah, 10/10
    wigman0001 you sir, are a douche. Imperium part 2?! what the ****? Clenching the Fists.. was one of the best tracks on the album...along with Beautiful Mourning which was my favourite. Although lyrically, A Farewell To Arms was the best IMO
    The greatest album to grace the shelves in over 20 years, There hasn't been an album this flawless since some band released an album called Master Of Puppets back in 1986
    dragonslayer999 wrote: this is one of the GREATEST ALBUMS OF ALL TIME this album is that same godly level of brilliance as rust in peace, ride the lightning, reign in blood or powerslave. If you don't agree with me, then i will have to fight you. MACHINE FUCKING HEAD You sir are my new best friend.
    Stuminton wrote: i thought it had 8 tracks? somebody's researching skills are crap!
    Technically it does, but it includes a bonus track on the special edition. It's a cover for battery by Metallica
    oh man it's a 10 album i mean i have seen reviews that are a lot worser and got 10s this is an epic album listen to halo if you don't think so
    WOW, usually theres at least one guy who says he thinks an album is shit (Even on master of puppets) But here, i havent seen even one guy whos scored it less than 7. Ive ordered it, and now i just cant wait to get it!!! Im listening to halo right now, ****ing beast of a song!!!