After releasing two great albums (1994's Burn My Eyes and 1997's The More Things Change...) and two quite shite ones (1999's The Burning Red and 2001's Supercharger), Machine Head returned to form in 2003 with the blistering Through The Ashes Of Empires. That album was their first with guitarist Phil Demmel, who had played with frontman Robb Flynn in overrated Bay Area thrasher Vio-Lence back in the day. Phil brought with him a new spark and an energy the band so badly needed.
I seem to recall how Flynn prior to making the record saying something along the lines of how they wanted to make an album with the darkness of The Cure's Disintegration, the raw desperation of Poison Idea's Feel The Darkness and the epic heavyness of Metallica's Master Of Puppets.
They didn't quite make it there, but there are moment on this album where they hit that nail right on the head. With Demmel in the band fulltime, the guitar hero aspirations ran wild. Epic songs full of twists and turns that make you dizzy, twin guitar madness, the best metal drumming in ages, godly basslines, even godlier (is that a word?) harmonies, and the best lyrics the band has produced this far.
It all adds up to why The Blackening is such a milestone in the band's career.
(mp3) Machine Head - Beautiful mourning
(mp3) Machine Head - Halo (recommended!)
Buy The Blackening @ Amazon.com.