Machine Head / Øf Kingdøm And Crøwn a deliciously solid Heavy Metal album |


Probably one of the most controversial bands in the heavy metal world, Machine Head’s trajectory has been anything but easy. Releasing one of the best debut albums of all time, Burn My Eyes, in 1994, the band went through good and bad for the next two decades, culminating in world domination in 2007 when The Blackening smashed all around for about three years. Machine Head was everywhere, festivals, arena tours, club gigs.

Machine head – Øf Kingdøm and Crøwn (Nuclear Blast)

Release date: August 26, 2022

Texts: Paul Hutchings

Subsequent albums maintained the momentum, although the band was still in danger of imploding internally. The departure of Adam Duce in 2013 saw Sanctity singer and guitarist Jared MacEachern arrive in time to be part of the band’s eighth album, Bloodstone and Diamonds before longtime members Dave McClain and Phil Demmel left in 2019 after the less than thrilling Catharsis (let’s face it, it sucked).

Four years after their last album, we come to album number ten. An hour-long concept disc, set in a futuristic wasteland where the sky is still crimson red, Øf Kingdøm and Crøwn follows two characters who face immense trauma and whose stories become intertwined as the story unfolds. progress.

Machine head. Øf Kingdøm And Crown.

Loosely inspired by the Japanese anime series Attack On Titan, there is no right or wrong, just two parties committed to doing what they feel and believe to be right. While Alston is part of the band, the ferocious drum parts here are handled by session drummer Navene Koperweis, formerly of Animosity and Animals As Leaders, with Vogg’s lead guitar work still vicious. Artwork is handled by the legendary Seth Siro Anton (Septicflesh), with band leader Robb Flynn as lead composer.

It’s instant Machine Head with the opening track Slaughter The Martyr. A song over ten minutes long that opens with dissonant notes and Flynn’s vocals, the song soon embarks on its epic journey. It resonates with The Blackening era, referencing “angels,” “Sodom and Gomorrah,” and MacEachern’s soaring harmonies adding layers to the choruses.

It’s fierce, aggressive, heavy and typically Machine Head. Followed by the sledgehammer single Chøke Øn The Ashes Øf Yøur Hate, which is a pure thrasher that many already know. It’s relentless in its power, Flynn’s growling vocal delivery revitalized after the pandemic.

Two songs, and it’s been a bit of a rage so far. The challenge with most Machine Head albums lately is how they maintain momentum. Becøme The Firestørm provides the first warning sign. It’s almost a Metal cliche, with all the stuff from the book thrown in. Fans will no doubt feel like it’s Machine Head fixing their groove, but despite some nice melodic double guitar work, it’s a bit forced and, dare I say, predictable. Sure, it’s a pain to deliver, but it’s nothing the band hasn’t released before, mostly nearly two decades ago.

The challenge with an album longer than 60 minutes is whether it can sustain interest. Linking songs with sub-minute sound bites, such as Øverdøse and Assimilate, adds curiosity, atmosphere and respite. Unhalløwed certainly brings feelings of helplessness to the fore, expanding the storyline before moving on to one of Kill Thy Enemies’ most melodic yet still overwhelming songs.

I still use the word traditional, but that’s exactly what you get here with the dual guitar harmonies, sweet interludes and vocal harmonies combining over epic choruses.

“Drowned in the deepest depression of his life, Eros is at breaking point,” says Robb Flynn of Unhalløwed. “Collecting heartache, loss and near-psychotic isolation, Unhallowed is the start of a powerful shift in our story. An introspective narrative begins the song lyrically, which is a collaborative effort written by me- same, guitarist Wacław ‘Vogg’ Kiełtyka and bassist/backing vocalist Jared MacEachern and sums up the collective strength of this writing team.

“Anchored by an absolutely monstrous groove, the vocals melodically reflect Eros’ state of mind as he spirals from the loss of his mother to a drug overdose and begins a slow downward spiral into madness. However, the highest point of the track brings much-needed light, but will it be enough?”

Nø Gøds, Nø Masters is about as smooth as Machine Head goes without falling into Descend The Shades Of Night territory, and it contrasts with Bløødshøt’s wild thumps, all the spit and gang chants, ferocity and chug.

It’s made worse by Røtten, the third four-minute track in a row and a song that will inevitably spur action in the pits when the band hit the road next month. It’s a song that, to me, sounds like a holdover from Catharsis with pinched harmonics, Flynn roaring in his daddy bear style and the beat going from balls of thrasher to heavy groove.

Does this sound new to you? Well, yes and no. Undeniably Machine Head, the challenge will always be to create a new sound or tinker with the existing style. The first is unlikely to happen. Therefore, it’s more about working with that signature sound and adding as many variables as possible to mix it up.

There’s a lot of Robb Flynn singing on this album. Hell of a lot. Moving on from raging spitting, venomous enunciation, spiral cleanings and his usual throaty roars.

He keeps his best performance until the end, the majestic Arrøws In Wørds Frøm The Sky, which turns more towards an MFH ballad. It is made of emotion, passion and drama. There are delightful harmonies, the playing is intricate, and the song as a whole sits alongside these epics of the past. And fortunately, very few extremely long songs, with only two exceeding six minutes.

The main thing with this album? It’s a new record from Machine Head. It’s much better than their last album, which had very few exciting elements and a lot of irritating elements.

If you like Machine Head, then I bet Øf Kingdøm And Crøwn will please you. It’s well produced, the songs are classic and the style is familiar. If you don’t like them, it won’t change your mind. No way.

What if you sit in the middle? Then I would suggest giving it a try because it’s all underpinned by the fact that this is a very solid Heavy Metal album.


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