Machinehead mini album packs a big punch

If you’re looking for a definitive heavy metal album for the current generation, look no further than “The Blackening.” The latest release from Oakland’s premier metal outfit, Machine Head, has already made countless “Best of 2007” lists, and has even been said to be a “Best of the Decade” candidate in just a few years’ time.

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By Tyler Davidson

By Tyler Davidson

If you’re looking for a definitive heavy metal album for the current generation, look no further than “The Blackening.” The latest release from Oakland’s premier metal outfit, Machine Head, has already made countless “Best of 2007” lists, and has even been said to be a “Best of the Decade” candidate in just a few years’ time.

Lead singer as well as primary songwriter Robb Flynn unleashes his best work on “The Blackening,” writing anti-war songs (“Clenching the Fists of Dissent”), love songs (“Now I Lay Thee Down”), and even hope songs (“Beautiful Mourning”), then proceeding to lay down some of the harshest vocals in recent memory, growling his way through eight tracks of metal in its purest form.

That wasn’t a typo. The disc only boasts eight songs, yet this isn’t any miniscule album. Half of the album is comprised of songs going over a whopping nine minutes in length, however none of them even think about starting to bore the listener. The rest of the album, while not nearly as long, is still a fairly good length, with even the shortest track clocking in at just under five minutes long.

The longest songs on “The Blackening” are epic adventures, exploring several different riffs before all returning back to a prominent motif, an important factor so as not to tread into the dangerous territory of what Flynn likes to refer to as “riff soup.”

At the end of January, the album leaked onto the Internet and quickly spread all over file-sharing networks like Napster and Lime Wire.

However, rather than spoiling the surprise for ‘Head fans, the leak just made them more hungry for the release to come. When it finally did, it sold almost 15,000 copies, and subsequently went on to become their highest charting disc in the United States.

Machine Head’s four-year hiatus from recording has done absolutely nothing to hinder their progress, and has instead produced arguably the best Machine Head work in the band’s fifteen-year career. Metal fans that don’t already own a copy need to put this paper down and pick one up.

Immediately.

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