Review by Greg Olma
This is my first foray into the land of Machine Head. I’ve read about them but have not heard what they are all about. Since I am new to Machine Head, I am unable to compare it to previous releases. The good thing about that is that I am judging this disc on its own merits and not what came before. Having bands like Slayer and Lamb Of God in the Grammys is a good indication that this type of heavy metal is not only alive but growing. Machine Head have been releasing music for more that a decade and it really shows. Outsiders would never understand the musical chops needed to play this type of music. The guys in Machine Head have the ability to play extremely heavy but still retain some melodies that separate them from the pack. I have heard a lot of this extreme metal lately and none of it comes close to The Blackening. Robb Flynn and Phil Demmel play well off each other. The former being the new metal riff king while the latter pulls out some great lead guitar work. Adam Duce and Dave McClain lay down a solid foundation that has got to be one of the tightest rhythm sections in metal today. The songs range from fast heavy thrashers to more traditional metal (sometimes you get both in one song). The guys are also not afraid to make longer tunes. The Blackening is just over an hour long but only has 8 songs, two of which are over 10 minutes long. If you are like me and don’t know what Machine Head are all about, then this is a great one to start with. They have certainly turned me into a fan.