Machine Head
Bloodstone and Diamonds


3.0
good

Review

by Jake C. Taylor USER (92 Reviews)
November 18th, 2014 | 15 replies


Release Date: 11/01/2014 | Tracklist


Feelings of sourness washed over me hearing Bloodstone and Diamonds for the first time as they did so for 2011’s Unto the Locust. The band who need only to arm themselves natural harmonics and (of all things) the flanger to be distinguished from their peers have again put forth a derivation of a now decade of work, and yes, before you ask, the harmonics are indeed here tainting most pieces. On paper this all sounds like a recipe for utter tedium--I’m sure for some it will be--yet every three years or so, tens of thousands still flock to their calling. It is for other agreeable reasons that Machine Head have such a zealous and strident following: Their indistinct combination of minor-scale swashbuckling, thrash, progressive and groove is subtly infectious, as is their enthusiasm towards it. Even if it’s filled with a litany of childish lyricism and cliché compositional accessories, someone has to make this type of music and it may as well be Robb Flynn and his band. An honest analysis like this is readily met with scorn and disbelief by the diehards. While the objection is somewhat understandable as there is, after all, an abundance of metal acts which are unquestionably worse, Flynn, who returns as the album’s producer, doesn’t manage to cultivate the conviction needed to benefit an album whose merits are inspired by, in his own words, “two of the hardest materials on earth”, that of bloodstone and diamond.

I’ve spent most of my time explaining here how Bloodstone and Diamonds is largely bland and uneventful; however it isn’t by any means a bad record once you give it a chance to settle, though it did take some time for me. The problem isn’t that it’s poorly executed; it’s simply for lack of anything to distinguish it other than a handful of brief moments of excellence, particularly within the first half. Alike other efforts, the opener “Now We Die” begins tenderly using a pointlessly melodramatic tool, in this case strings, before reining in the steel. Why can’t even the most stern of metal acts void themselves of this sort of initiating nonsense? From here it morphs as energetically as you’d expect it to. For any proponent of the band, the coming seven minutes will be something to revel in, but it doesn’t reinforce the album other than to simply introduce it. Anyone could play the game of song substitution here and the results would end equally as well. I mean it, take your pick. The bent riffs in “Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones” and “Beneath the Silt”, harken to Pantera’s excellence, but also showcase the best that’s on offer. These hard hitting units aren’t similar in structure, but both appear to benefit more from groove than from anything else. “Sail into the Black”, another standout, is a slower piece that fills the mind with dystopian visions amid the dark chants of monks and a finger-picked acoustic before totally collapsing into a menacing second half. Along similar lines, much of the album isn’t completely devoid of immaterial nonsense or sheer musical derivativeness, and this is where Machine Head can pretty much escape the traps other acts readily fall victim to; somehow they pull off what others simply couldn’t in the same scope of limited ideas. Most tracks do stand on their own two feet, even if they are inconspicuous derivatives at some level. If this had been released some ten years ago, hell, it would even be better than their magnum opus The Blackening in more ways than one. It’s just a pity it can’t always fulfil the stamina it requires because we’ve simply heard a lot of it before.



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user ratings (364)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
LaughingSkull (4.5)
From strength to strength...

lostforwords (3.5)
While it initially comes off as too forced and pretentious, "Bloodstone and Diamonds" is ultimately ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
ResidentNihilist
November 18th 2014


1292 Comments


The review is very staccato and doesn't flow well in places as you start every sentence as if it's the start of a new paragraph with no logical progression. Also

'An honest analysis like this is readily met with scorn and disbelief by the diehards.'

That statement makes you sound like an arse tbh. Get rid of it.

taylormemer
November 18th 2014


4961 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks for the criticisms.

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
November 18th 2014


16499 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review, pos'd. I liked this a little more than you but pretty much agree on everything you said.

Digging: Toby Driver - Live at Roulette, March 2017

Sciroccu
November 18th 2014


881 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review, the album is honest not much more.

The best part is in the middle with Night Of Long Knives, Sail Into The Black, Eyes Of The Dead and In Comes The Flood.

Lyrics are average, vocals are good, music is often repetitive...



Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
November 18th 2014


10153 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The first paragraph seems rather negative and hateful, and doesn't flow very well but there is some good stuff in there. The second paragraph was better I think. The fact that there are only two and they are rather large is a bit of an eyesore. I would recommend chopping those up a bit and playing with some more structured writing. Your grammar was good and your point got across so I'll pos though.

LaughingSkull
November 18th 2014


526 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Review reads difficult and needs better flow. There were some spelling errors as well (e.g. "reigning in", "shear", etc.).



Also, it feels like the 3.0 score isn't explained very well. The second part of the review leaves the impression of a more positive opinion.

ThatDude
November 18th 2014


45 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That was a painful read. More paragraphs and more links between sentences can help this review ''flow'' better.

LaughingSkull
November 18th 2014


526 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

damn, everyone seems to like Ghosts Will Haunt my Bones, but me

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
November 18th 2014


16499 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

First half of this is a solid 4 and second half is 2.5

Mythodea
November 18th 2014


4153 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Review is nice. It has such subjects that actually doesn't need more than two paragraphs, one:what's the band about, two: what's the album about, with some nice phrases here and there and I mostly agree. You can fix though, some phrases and sentence connections.



Album could be better, but it's still quite enjoyable. What I want to keep from this review is this simle, yet accurate statement:'someone has to make this type of music and it may as well by Robb Flynn and his band'

taylormemer
November 18th 2014


4961 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

In response to some of the above, the critical analysis in the first paragraph is just thinking out aloud for me. It was written in an improvisational manner to my initial response to a mostly uninteresting record. I warmed to it slightly as my thoughts were converging in the second paragraph. I prefer this type of writing despite it can at times feel somewhat disjointed, and I do attempt to glue things as best I can, though the cricism is appreciated wholeheartedly. Also, do not mistake the "subtly infectious" drop in the first paragraph to be prejorative--I actually believe their music to be somewhat infectious in a good way and I forward this as being an "agreeable" aspect as to why many others love it.



I feel as if these feelings are explained well enough in the two paragraphs without excrutiatingly going into a repitious monlogue about each track or more than the four I already did. Despite this I've made some brief edits from the pickups mentioned, with the little time I get nowadays.

Ponton
Emeritus
November 18th 2014


6119 Comments


love taylor reviews

Digging: Movements - Feel Something

taylormemer
November 18th 2014


4961 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh wow, you're still around. Nice. It's beena while.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
November 19th 2014


32190 Comments


someone has to make this type of music and it may as well by Robb Flynn and his band.


*be instead of by dude

You're slipping

taylormemer
November 19th 2014


4961 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well, you're there to always catch me. Aww.



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