Machine Head
Arrows in Words from the Sky


3.0
good

Review

by DatsNotDaMetulz USER (62 Reviews)
March 4th, 2022 | 10 replies


Release Date: 2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: MH going through the motions but with some signs of promise

It’s been a tough few years for Machine Head. Since the lukewarm reception to 2018’s Catharsis, power struggles and internal conflicts left frontman Robb Flynn and bassist Jared MacEachern having to essentially start from scratch. While new live members have been roped in through Vogg of Decapitated fame and drummer Matt Alston, on this year’s 3 track EP Arrows in Words from the Sky the group have instead opted to operate as a 3 piece, recruiting drummer Navene Koperweiss for the sessions as they continue to rebuild and rediscover their focus after 3 years of turmoil.

All the negativity that stewed in that time is immediately let loose in the opening seconds of opening track “Become the Firestorm”, with blasting drums and tremolo riffs abound, showing off a much more extreme metal-influenced side to Machine Head which will appeal to those who were disappointed by the nu metal influences of Catharsis. The clean vocals do raise a few questions, though, being a lot more metalcore influenced and sounding a lot more strained, unlike the sort of clean vocals you normally would expect from a Machine Head album. It’s definitely a strong statement from the duo, and suggests there is more to come from them when many (including myself) questioned whether the band could even continue.

Once we reach the second track, “Rotten”, it does feel a lot more like classic Machine Head, with a trademark pinch harmonic filled, mid-pace riff providing the bulk of the track. However, things to change up a notch midway through the track when Robb unleashes some true guttural screams into the breakdown, channelling his inner metalcore vocalist once again. The repetitiveness can get old after a while and can make the song feel like it outstays its welcome somewhat, but it’s definitely one that will go down well at live shows and that’s what it feels like it’s built for. As usual, the lyrics do feel a bit cheesy but if you’ve listened to Machine Head up to this point you know that it’s part and parcel of the band’s music now, and you either take it or leave it.

The title track from Arrows in Words from the Sky is perhaps the most metalcore influenced offering from Machine Head to date, though. From the clean vocal style, to the chugging verses contrasting with the melodic chorus, it feels like an attempt at a more modern, streamlined take on something like “A Farewell to Arms” with some of the influences that seeped into Catharsis, meeting in the middle to make something completely different, almost jarringly so, from the rest of the EP.

After looking at the songs individually, it has to be said that it’s difficult to fully summarise a general sound for Arrows in Words from the Sky, other than it feels like Machine Head are attempting to make a statement while at the same time going through the motions and trying to figure out what direction they want to take going on from here. We are presented with three songs in wildly different styles, going from extreme metal to classic MH through to modern metalcore, and while some moments click, others feel forced or out of place. Coupled with the standalone singles released before this EP dropped, and it really does feel like Robb Flynn is lost right now, trying to find a way to keep his band going through this rough patch until he can steady the ship and come out triumphant on the other side. But, there is still a lot of work to do and while this does feel like a step in the right direction, one can only wait and see what happens next.

Attribution: https://lamortdelamusique.blogspot.com/2021/06/ep-review-machine-head-arrows-in-words.html



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user ratings (54)
2.9
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
DatsNotDaMetulz
March 4th 2022


4317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

And this was one I did last year

JeetJeet
March 4th 2022


12223 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thought this was a pretty great ep, considering how ass Catharsis was. Nice review

DatsNotDaMetulz
March 4th 2022


4317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Thanks for the feedback, not been happy with my writing lately so thought republishing them on here would be a good way of getting some feedback I can use in future.

Muzz79
March 5th 2022


3073 Comments


Catharsis was massively overhated on sputnik

Wizard
March 5th 2022


20516 Comments


Deservedly so!

LaughingSkull
March 7th 2022


860 Comments


power struggles and internal conflicts left frontman Robb Flynn and bassist Jared MacEachern having to essentially start from scratch.

I can recall the news of Dave McClain leaving the band, but Phil Demmel too? First time I hear that. What happened?

LaughingSkull
March 7th 2022


860 Comments


so I listened to this. Can't say much other than it's just your typical Machine Head that we've learned to know ever since The Blackening.
Just a very standard affair and a total safe play.

I appreciated the first track because it reminded me of Unto the Locust. I LOVE this album to the point where it's probably my fav by them, but had forgotten about it (and the band in general) in the last years. Now I'll revisit it!
(which, also unpleasantly reminds me, that I never quite understood why most critics and fans HATED it at the time of its release;
it almost seemed like there was a concentrated attack aimed at MH... what the heck was that all about? ... :/)

Second track is just the absolute textbook generic MH song, which is almost saved by that part towards the end where they do the glorious guitar duel.

Third track is weird and funny in that it starts like a Trivium / A7X song, and then suddenly becomes a Stratovarius song xD

verdict: I'll just go back to listening to the glory days of Unto the Locust and Bloodstone & Diamonds.

P.S. don't wanna sound like I'm critical of Jared McEarhern's backup vocals, because he's probably a decent singer, BUT... they sound bad. Probably a mixing/mastering issue.

P.P.S. Honestly can't understand how Flynn still hasn't realized how 90% of his songs he has the EXACT SAME vocal style. Come on, man, surely you can also find OTHER WAYS to sing... -_-


Irikeheavymetal
April 7th 2022


152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review, fair in both praise and criticism.



It's listenable, but man can they be so much better. There's some great riffs and sounds that they couldn't figure out how to put into a full compelling song. You can definitely feel the identity crisis in what creative direction they want to go with. Also did they really have to stylize everything like "ARRØWS IN WØRDS FRØM THE SKY"...

LaughingSkull
April 11th 2022


860 Comments


Also did they really have to stylize everything like "ARRØWS IN WØRDS FRØM THE SKY"...


They... didn't, though? Where do you see that?

Irikeheavymetal
April 12th 2022


152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It looks like that's how they decided to stylize it for publishing to platforms (youtube, spotify, amazon). Google it



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