Machine Head
Through the Ashes of Empires


3.5
great

Review

by Nytro USER (3 Reviews)
October 21st, 2010 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A great return to form for a band that got lost in the corporate grind.

Machine Head was at what seemed their lowest point at the end of their "Supercharger" tour. The album didn't sell well at all, so Roadrunner cut funding and dropped the band. Lead guitarist Ahrue Luster wanted to go in a more melodic direction and he left. So with no label support or a permanent replacement to Ahrue Luster, how did Machine Head pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and say to hell with mainstream? Well, as a three piece they created "Through The Ashes of Empires."

The band at this point –

Robb Flynn – Lead Guitars/Rhythm Guitars/Vocals

Adam Duce – Bass

Dave McClain – Drums

Let me start off by saying the for the most part the musicianship is vastly improved over the last few releases. Almost every song has a killer solo, or drop to your knees chorus, or pounding ear bursting drums. What Machine Head has done in a nutshell, is amplify the heaviness to 11 while keeping the melodies on 10. So while the heavy parts of this album are heavy, the softer parts are soft enough that fans of “Burning Red” or “Supercharger” can still enjoy the record.

The album itself starts out with the Machine Head classic "Imperium." What a killer song. It has fast parts, slow parts, soft parts, loud parts, heavy parts, melodic parts, and everything in between. This is what a Machine Head song should sound like. This song is enough to buy the album. Let’s see how the rest of the album shaped up.

"Bite The Bullet" starts out with a pounding drum part and then Robb comes in with wah wah guitars. Then the song really gets going with soft verses and heavy chorus. That is the major theme of this album. Like I stated, the heavy parts are heavy, but the soft parts are soft. “Elegy” is a very interesting song with whispered Tool-like verses and a very beautiful climax in the middle. “In The Presence of My Enemies” has an epic opening with slow tribal drums. Then all hell breaks loose and this one is a head banger for sure. “Vim” is another faster paced track that will have any fan of earlier Machine Head grinning for sure. The album ends with “Descend the Shades of Night” which is a breathtaking track. It is softer, for sure, but still is heavy at the same time. I couldn’t think of a better way to end this album.

But with all those great songs, there are a few downers. “All Falls Down” sounds like a B-side off Supercharger. It is heavy, but it is still too Slipknotish for the record. The same goes for “Wipe the Tears.” Another problem I have is Robb’s vocals. They are good, hell maybe even great, but he comes off as trying too hard to sound like he did on earlier records, while still being accessible to fans of Disturbed. It doesn’t work too well. Also his vocals are too high in the mix and therefore you can almost hear him touching the mic. But again, these are modest little annoyances that aren’t album breaking.

So in conclusion, I can’t help but feel this should have been their third album. It does everything for me that a Machine Head record should. It is really heavy, and almost all metal fans would enjoy it, but it still has enough hooks and enough choruses to keep the casual Disturbed, Slipknot, or Korn fan listening. Is it without failure? No. It is a reinvention? No. Is it classic Machine Head? Yes. And that is the angle fans should come towards this record with.

Pros:

Imperium
Much better musicianship over the last two records.
Every member shines through.

Cons:

Robb Flynn tried too hard to sound evil.
The vocals are too high in the mix.
Almost all the songs sound like Machine Head have made them before.


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Comments:Add a Comment 
Nytro
October 21st 2010


91 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

FYI I really like the record, but I couldn't help in feeling that throughout the record I've heard everything before.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
October 21st 2010


8574 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not a bad review for a third. Next time, try to the describe the album as a whole, without bringing out all songs (you can highlight the best cuts, worst cuts and the odd cuts, just don't do a tbt, since it's boring to read and this basically is a one, just disguised in an overall format). Also, don't use caps, if you feel you really need to highlight a word/phrase, just use italics instead. Oh and the pros and cons section isn't necessary as you should be able bring those out in the main part of your review anyway. One more thing: comparisons to a band's older work are fine, but they shouldn't form the crux of your review, as the readers who haven't heard of the band before will then have no idea what you're talking about.



So yeah, not bad for a third, but there are some areas you can improve upon.

Strider
October 21st 2010


4699 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ouch, and this is probably my favorite Machine Head album :o. I agree with what Metalstyles said. And Days Turn Blue to Gray is the third best track after Descend the Shades of night, and Imperium.

Emim
October 21st 2010


27900 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

One of my least favorite Machine Head albums.

Nytro
October 21st 2010


91 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I started to do that, but every song is vastly different I wanted to explain my views on all of them, but point taken. As for comparisons to other albums, it helps me explain my point of view, and I think only people familiar with Machine Head will read a Machine Head review. But again, point taken.

I use the pros and cons to use it as a neat and easy to read conclusion.



I see that I make a lot of comparisons but it helps me explain why I made that choice. Like Bite the Bullet. It sounds a lot like Bulldozer, so it helps the reader decide if they would like it or not.



But thanks for the feedback, always appreciated.

Nytro
October 21st 2010


91 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@ Strider



I found it a little boring. Not bad.



@ Emim



It's my second least, behind Supercharger.

fr33convict
October 21st 2010


11723 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It feels like the further you got into it the sloppier it got. Make sure you proofread you're reviews to determine whether what you're saying makes sense, reads clearly, etc.,.

Nytro
October 21st 2010


91 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@fr33



I pride myself on grammar so I apologize for any mistakes. I thought it sounded right but I'll read it again and edit it accordingly.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
October 21st 2010


8574 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I see that I make a lot of comparisons but it helps me explain why I made that choice. Like Bite the Bullet. It sounds a lot like Bulldozer, so it helps the reader decide if they would like it or not.
I see what you mean, but my point is that when a person is going to read this review, not having heard of Machine Head before, and all he sees are comparisons to the band's older work, he will have no actual overview of whether the album is worth it or not, especially when you don't describe the sound much (not saying you didn't at all, but you could've elaborated more on the overall sound/feel), just say that "this song sounds like this other song from their album X). I mean, the example your brought out is fine in itself, but you made a lot of similar comparisons to older albums/songs throughout the review, especially when taking into account that the review was pretty short.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
October 21st 2010


8574 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Make sure you proofread you're reviews to determine whether what you're saying makes sense, reads clearly, etc.,.
lol, you should also take that advice

fr33convict
October 21st 2010


11723 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Nytro: It's not only grammar, it's also your paragraphs. They don't provide a unison thought or expression. They jump

back and forth too much and make it odd to read.



@Metalstyles: that post isn't a review :P

Nytro
October 21st 2010


91 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@Metalstyles Maybe I can rewrite it with a track by track kind of thing sense I started doing that anyways. That way I can go into deeps details about every song without rambling on.

MoosechriS
October 21st 2010


6353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Listened to this recently after not playing it in ages and i didn't enjoy it as much as i used to. It's still a good album but the lyrics do get a bit cringeworthy on some places. Imperium, Days turn blue to grey, seasons wither & descend the shades of night all rule though.

Emim
October 21st 2010


27900 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

not having heard of Machine Head before, and all he sees are comparisons to the band's older work,




I made this mistake with my first review. Best thing you can do is to take the advice to heart and just keeping writing.

Nytro
October 21st 2010


91 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@Fr33 I have to disagree. In the first paragraph I explain a little background. Then I explain the album title and start the review. At the end of the second paragraph I ask what the rest of the album is like and then I explain the rest of the album. I don't see how that isn't cohesive.

Nytro
October 21st 2010


91 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

@Emim Definitely. I'm sort of new so I take all advice I can get.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
October 21st 2010


8574 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Nytro and your tbt idea

I wouldn't suggest it to be honest, since about 95% of track-by-tracks are boring to read. Just try to perfect your skills on the overall format.

Emim
October 21st 2010


27900 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It helps to read other reviews on the site and see how others approach the music and how they break it down and put it all into words.



NOTE: THIS IS NOT ENDORSING PLAGIARISM

greg84
Emeritus
October 21st 2010


7608 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The album is actually really good. One of their best.

Digging: Raphael Saadiq - Jimmy Lee

Buccaneer
October 21st 2010


742 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Used to like this



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