Review Summary: Sonically, Unto The Locust is a big album. It marks a certain high point in Machine Head’s career without compromising a now trademark Machine Head sound.Unto The Locust
is a show of workmanship and experience combined with a straight forward song writing approach. This release will leave listeners thoroughly satisfied without displaying too many technical features that would cripple this no frills album. With ‘I Am Hell (Sonata in C#), first impressions work greatly for Unto The Locust
. Listeners are exposed to a symphonic introduction, creating an interesting atmosphere for the first track before being hit in the face by typical Machine Head riff onslaught. The simplistic chugged riff patterns made more interesting with triplet patterns and an underlying dissonant melody line show that Machine Head know what they are doing. The listeners’ first impression is built off this track and by the end of it they should be keen for more.
Comparisons will be made with their previous, somewhat blockbuster release The Blackening
and listeners may first notice the lack of flashy technicality that has been replaced with straight forward musical ideas and catchier song structures. Unto The Locust
still displays a high level of musicianship on all levels and still manages to keep the listener interested. There is still a lot going on. Unto The Locust
is not a “The Blackening version 2.0” it is a branching out combined with the members influences to create an album that is enjoyable with a high play back value without losing sight of the music they produce.
Listen to: Iron Maiden’s ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’; listeners will hear some very similar sounds on the introduction of ‘Be Still And Know’, both in the melodic guitar line and the drum work behind it. These features affirm the band’s influences in the metal genre and intelligently combine those influences to create a well thought out track. Titled track ‘Locust’ could be considered the most technical track on the record which builds up in intensity and interweaves patterns and seduces the listener into the track. Rob Flynn’s vocals take centre stage here even with the technical instrumental patterns. At times they soar, but more importantly they show a high level of catchiness often using the hook line to maintain the interest of the listener. The bridge/solo section on this track could well be considered a highlight of the album. There are some hard hitting riffs here that compliment Machine Head’s mosh-like intensity levels and maintain interest throughout the entire of the track.
‘Darkness Within’ highlights the album. The track is an example of all catchiness, intensity, intelligent structuring, technicality and lyricism. This track is sure to attract a few listens and for good reason. Diversity is found at various stages throughout the album, prominently an example can be found on ‘Who We Are’. Interestingly listeners hear the hook line from a choir of children before the rest of Machine Head take the stage with a very up tempo track.
Overall, Unto The Locust
makes for a high quality, well done listen. Making use of their skills as song writers, combined with their musical influences Machine Head present listeners with an album they will be playing over and over again. This may not outweigh The Blackening
in some aspects but it is bound to turn a few heads. This is an excellent album in its own right. Fans have much to look forward to.