Machine Head
The Blackening


2.0
poor

Review

by Zipzop5565 USER (20 Reviews)
September 25th, 2009 | 48 replies | 2,704 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An OK album. If you like long songs that would be much better if they ended at the halfway mark, but instead the band decides to keep the songs going for some reason, then you’ll probably like this album.

5 of 10 thought this review was well written

I never knew Machine Head existed until like five months ago. I was at a friend’s house and they were playing Aesthetics of Hate on Rock Band, and I thought to myself “That’s a cool song. I should get their album.” I then got their album, saw that the first track was ten minutes long, and there were three other tracks at the end at nine to ten minutes each, and I just listened to Aesthetics of Hate and nothing else.

One day, I was looking through my music collection, and I saw Machine Head’s “The Blackening” and decided I ought to go ahead and listen to the whole thing, since it’s been five months and I’ve only listened to one song. Approximately sixty minutes later, I was glad that I was doing other things while the music was playing, because it made the time pass much faster.

The band’s record label, Roadrunner, was apprehensive about releasing an album with an opening track clocking in at just over ten minutes, and I feel they should have acted on that hunch. The main problem with this album is that a majority of the songs don’t have to be as long as they are. “Clenching the Fists of Dissent” starts with a clichéd quiet intro that’s long enough to be its own intro track, and then we get some fast paced drumming, fast riffs, and Rob Flynn’s aggressive growl. This will happen a lot, mind you: the slow intro segueing into fast paced riffage and aggressive shout and hard vocals. I think every other song starts out this way. At least the ten minute songs do, anyway.

“Clenching” isn’t a bad song for the first four and half minutes. If they stopped it at the five minute mark, it would actually be a suitable thrash song (because isn’t Machine Head a Thrash Metal band?) and five minutes is pushing it for Thrash. Yet, this band decided to add several slow parts to the song, another solo, and more pointless lyrics to make the song ten minutes long. I was convinced the song ended at the 4:45 mark and was just waiting for it to actually end.

“Beautiful Mourning” has a faster intro, but starts with Rob Flynn shouting “*** you all!” I thought to myself “Well, that wasn’t nice. I just bought* his album and he’s telling me to *** myself? Nice guy.” Yeah, if you can’t tell, he’s mad about something, though I don’t know what. It’s by this time I realized that the lyrics are pretty bland and stupid, though not the worst lyrics crafted in the history of music. Their lyrical themes deal with inner struggles and violence, which is okay, I guess, but there’s too much swearing in this album. Most people have no problem with swearing, but I find it a weak songwriting tactic. There’s subtle word choice and careful craft of lyrics to give the feeling of anger and despair, and then there’s just saying “***” a lot, which is basically telling the listener, “Hey, dumb***, we’re ***ing mad about something because we swear a lot.” Metallica didn’t need to swear. In Master of Puppets, there’s only one swear word, at the very end of the album, no less, proving that you don’t need to populate your lyrics with F-bombs to make good songs.

“Aesthetics of Hate” starts out with a melo guitar riff that will make a return later in the song; the drums are slowly added; and the entire track becomes a lot heavier. We get another Rob Flynn growl, nothing we haven’t heard before, and more swearing. Despite the swearing, the song is actually quite good, and would have been better had it ended where the band intended it to end: around the 4:45 mark. Then the melo guitar returns, and the band pads the song with Flynn repeating the same last lyric ten times and distorted guitar. I’m now convinced that they purposefully made each song greater than five minutes as a sort of dare from some other band. Like, the band came up to Machine Head while they were at a bar and said,

“Hey, I bet you guys can’t make an album where each of the songs is over five minutes!”

Rob Flynn: “We’ll take that bet!”

That has to be the only explanation. They didn’t even try to add another solo or another verse. It’s blatant padding, and unnecessary. Well, I guess they really wanted to win that bet.

“Now I lay Thee Down” is probably the only song that feels like it wasn’t padded to extend the length. We get a little break from Flynn’s aggressive vocals, where he sings cleanly for a majority of the track. Still, it has a quiet intro segueing into heavy riffs, but that’s to be expected. There’s no garbage slow part whose only purpose is to extend the song’s length, but if you miss that, “Slanderous” has one. “Slanderous” actually ends at 4:18, but they drag it on for another minute, and I’m sick of the padding.

“Halo”, “Wolves”, and “A Farewell to Arms” are together longer than some Thrash full-length albums, and if you choose to skip them, you aren’t missing anything. If you listened to “Clenching”, there’s no reason to listen to these. They took the same formula and added different words, and listening to these anal abominations felt like I was doing homework. When listening to a song feels like a project for Science class, it’s time to listen to a different song.

Despite its shortcomings (or longcomings), “The Blackening” is an okay album. It’s definitely listenable, if somewhat tedious and boring at parts. If you can stand 10 minute songs left and right, give it a listen. I’ll probably never listen to it again, at least not in its entirety. This album definitely didn’t make me want to kill myself or do LSD to make the album more enjoyable, and I wouldn’t wish that these guys would die in an airplane crash. I know long songs have been a part of metal, but this isn’t a progressive album like Dream Theater or Opeth. There’s no acoustic / keyboard interludes in “The Blackening”, and there’s a difference between being a progressive album and padding songs with slow parts so the guys in Hatebreed have to buy them a case of Coors Light.


*I didn’t buy it.



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user ratings (1414)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • LaughingSkull (3)
    hype hype hype...

    battleinthenorth (4)
    An intense, visceral display of fine musicianship that more than eclipses anything the ban...

    oneeyedlittleman (3.5)
    Though it may be somewhat of a flawed diamond, it has enough gems to make it a worthwhile ...

    Professor (5)
    "Oh, how we love it when a veteran band picks itself off the floor, dusts itself off, and ...

  • J2e2c (3)
    Machine Head have matured into more dynamic band, capable of taking the listener through s...

    Headcase4life (5)
    This album contends for the greatest machine head album ever, and certainly one of the bes...

    YHB (4)
    Not quite the new Master Of Puppets, but an excellent reaffirmation of Machine Head's stre...

    Jorn van Schaïk (3.5)
    ...

  • Slaytan (3.5)
    Machine Head's The Blackening proves that number 7 really may be lucky......

    Brain Dead (4)
    Machine Head shed their prevalent "dumb metal" label with The Blackening, an album that sp...

    Mike Stagno EMERITUS (1)
    With their sixth studio effort, Machine Head releases one of the year's most overrated alb...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Burn2Burn
September 25th 2009



2378 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good album and the band slays live. Review is kind of...tacky.

fireaboveicebelow
September 25th 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

starts with Rob Flynn shouting “*** you all!” I thought to myself “Well, that wasn’t nice. I just bought* his album and he’s telling me to *** myself? Nice guy.”
lol. review isn't too bad, but the intro is a bit too long therefore taking from your point, but I thought the rest of it was pretty fun to read

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
September 25th 2009



8221 Comments


it is an ok review. you'll get my vote as this doesn't deserve 2 negs.

Digging: Metsatoll - Karjajuht

Greggers
September 25th 2009



2375 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pretty lulzworthy review

mutatedfreek
September 25th 2009



7351 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Review is interesting I'll give it that. The structure is actually very good but you might want to steer clear of the narrative style that you have going on here to allow for some more in depth disscussion, just a thought.

You get a pos from me, but only because I negged it by accident and thought it was harsh to leave it like that.

qwe3
September 25th 2009



21154 Comments


wow people listen to these guys?

Fxxkit13
September 25th 2009



1559 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i want to neg just for this guys username.

KebertXela
September 25th 2009



367 Comments


I'm having a hard time figuring out if this is a joke review.

Cerbyrus
September 25th 2009



565 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good review

Phantom
September 25th 2009



8930 Comments


Review is average at best. It just reads like a combination of a rant and stream of consciousness.

south_of_heaven 11
September 26th 2009



5426 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

If they stopped it at the five minute mark, it would actually be a suitable thrash song (because isn’t Machine Head a Thrash Metal band?) and five minutes is pushing it for Thrash.


no no no no no not thrash no no no no no

groove.

Zipzop5565
September 26th 2009



402 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Wikipedia, metal-archives.com, and this site list it as thrash / groove, so I guess we're both right.

taylormemer
September 26th 2009



4887 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, it's not thrash.

KebertXela
September 26th 2009



367 Comments


To be quite honest, I have a hard time taking a metal review seriously from someone who only heard of machine head 5 months ago. You also write the review as if the album wasn't wildly successful and critically acclaimed...as if you would have known what was best for the band before releasing their most successful album to date.

I found the review pretentiously ignorant.

fireaboveicebelow
September 26th 2009



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

success is usually the opposite of quality

I found the comment pretentiously arrogant

Zipzop5565
September 26th 2009



402 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I'm not reviewing their acclaim, or what other people think of the album. I'm reviewing it for what it is: a piece of music. What other people think about this album has no bearing on my review. It's basically my opinion on the music itself, and if you read the review, you know my thoughts.

And acclaim over an album doesn't necessarily make it good. Hell, there's people who like Bring me the Horizon.

PitDetonator
September 26th 2009



15 Comments


Sloppy, misguided and less than professional review* Why review an album that came out TWO YEARS AGO?????

Also if song length is an issue maybe you should stick to pop music or punk. You didn't actually review the album, you just moaned about swear words and song length. The last three songs on this album pretty much own 98% of all the metal ever made.

And to top it off YOU DIDN'T EVEN BUY THE FUC KING ALBUM!!!! So stealing is ok but swearing isn't? The swearing isn't even out of context. I'm sorry but this whole review is a JOKE!!!!

Successful troll is successful

* = That said not once was your review TL;DR. It was interesting throughout. Thats the only thing stopping me from Negging this.................but I still disagree with you 200%

Greggers
September 26th 2009



2375 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Why review an album that came out TWO YEARS AGO?????


Dude, he can review whatever the fuck he wants

The last three songs on this album pretty much own 98% of all the metal ever made.


Just...no.

And to top it off YOU DIDN'T EVEN BUY THE FUC KING ALBUM!!!! So stealing is ok but swearing isn't?


Dude this is the 00's, everyone steals music.



PitDetonator
September 26th 2009



15 Comments


Also Wikipedia is probably the worst place on the internet to find factual information. Encyclopedia Dramatica is more reliable. Machine Head are NOT thrash. Thats like saying Green Day are Punk. NO!!!!!!

Greggers
September 26th 2009



2375 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Green Day are pop-punk, a punk 'sub-genre' of sorts, so technically they are



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