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  • Feature: Looking Back on Machine Head's "Unto the Locust"

    Mon, 08 Oct 2012 07:23:37

    Feature: Looking Back on Machine Head's "Unto the Locust" - By ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino...

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    Machine Head's brand new live opus, Machine Fucking Head Live, hits shelves on November 13, and the group hits the road with Dethklok, All That Remains, and The Black Dahlia Murder on October 30. However, we wanted to take a look back on the group's most recent studio effort Unto the Locust in honor of all the killer stuff on the horizon for the Bay Area titans.

    Now, it was no easy feat following up The Blackening, given the album's immediate exaltation and classification as a bona fide classic. However, Unto the Locust deserves similar praise as it's equally timeless. Machine Head didn't simply repeat themselves either. They went deeper and darker than ever before on Unto the Locust and stirred up a powerful metal plague of epic proportions.

    "I Am Hell (Sonata in C#)" begins with singer and guitarist Robb Flynn's twisted choral hymn in the first movement "I: Sangre Sani (Blood Saint)". As that subsides, everything rolls forward in a veritable thrash avalanche on "II: I Am Hell" seeing Flynn and Phil Demmel once again prove why they're one of metal's greatest guitar duos. Time signatures and riff patterns change on the drop of a dime but with Dave McClain's airtight drum air raid and Adam Duce's staggering bass lines, the song never derails. In fact, the assault is even more potent as all of these elements converge into one focused metallic whirlwind. Of course, everything descends into an acoustic bridge punctuated by Flynn's nearly angelic playing. Then, it all goes back to hell of course—in the best way possible. That's all just the first song mind you…

    "Be Still and Know" sees the quartet tread infectiously psychedelic territory punctuated by a drum roll march and the vocalist's entrancing one-of-a-kind croon. "Locust" is one of their most pummeling salvos, fusing the bombast of The Blackening and the unmitigated ferocity of the group's debut Burn My Eyes. "This is the End" proves apocalyptically catchy, and "Darkness Within" is vulnerably enthralling seeing Flynn once again open up admitting, "I am just a broken man" and "I sing the hymns of my disgrace".

    "Who We Are" caps off this journey with a choir of kids filtering through the metal madness. It's an a propos end. Ultimately, Unto the Locust is a landmark for Machine Head and a landmark for heavy metal.

    We can't wait to see what they do next…

    Rick Florino

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    Tags: Machine Head, Dethklok, All That Remains, The Black Dahlia Murder

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