The Blackening

Studio Album by released in 2007
The Blackening's tracklist:
Clenching the Fists of Dissent
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Beautiful Mourning
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Aesthetics of Hate
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Now I Lay Thee Down
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Slanderous
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Halo
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Wolves
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A Farewell to Arms
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The Blackening review

The Blackening – the most ambitious album of Machine Head

Evolution of one certain genre can be endless; at list this is what the events taking place on the modern metal scene make you think about. Metal music is diving into the technical aspect still further, the modern albums of heavy bands become saturated with riffs and song structures more and more – 4/4 time just cannot cover all ambitions of this style. That’s what Rob Flynn said about new Machine Head’s album: "This is the most ambitious thing we have ever attempted. We all challenged ourselves and each other to write a record that pushed the boundaries of complexity and technical structure". And this highly responsible acclaim does correspond to 100 percent truth. The Blackening is the most complex album from Machine Head indeed; The album can be called a big epic metal canvas, which is comprised mainly of long and massive compositions, count yourself, 60 minutes of total playtime present eight tracks. Probably that’s why it happens to hear that the album is not bad but still could be better. This is not like that, The Blackening became a new milestone in the history of Machine Head and it needs more attention to get that, after all the musicians didn’t spend three years for no purpose.

The Blackening excels with the extra heavy sound

Machine Head were always famous for their recognizable brand style and their really heavy and probably the benchmark sound. But on the last record the band surpassed itself – the sound reaches a new level of gravity and literally blows everything that stands in its way. Listen to Clenching The Fists Of Dissent, while the introduction part is full of standards, this is that very place where you can fully appreciate the massive sonic attack while your years are still fresh and you still don’t take the sound for granted. The album is also notable for a great measure of guitar shredding that Machine Head produce here, it has never been their characteristic feature but they perfectly cope with it. However this is a question to discuss, as some people don’t actually find the melodic solos suitable to the general atmosphere they create. To understand this, pay your attention for example on Aesthetics Of Hate – fast and aggressive song with a big percent of double guitar tunes. Throughout their career Machine Head were often reflecting the influences of different modern genres. Now I Lay Thee Down is a song that serves as an attempt to follow this tradition. The band comes close to stylistic boarders but still never steps out. The best and the most massive tracks appear by the end of the album, slowly leading a listener to the final epic point A Farewell To Arms.

A new stage in Machine Head’s career

On a large scale, after a long trip consisting of several albums, Machine Head are going back to their supreme style of Burn My Eyes, but now it sounds mature, reconsidered, led to the absolute skillfulness and achieved through the struggle for existence. Those things that Flynn and company did three years age has initiated this process, at that time it seemed that Through The Ashes Of Empires will become their last desperate attempt. Even musicians themselves confess that that period was the hardest in their career. But it turned out well, the band not simply survived but managed to reach the new, previously unseen summits, and with the release of The Blackening keeps conquering them. If you know this band and what is more you are Machine Head fan than the album will be just what you need. If it turned out that you don’t actually like them then of course you can’t expect this album will make you crazy about them. But it is worth listening in any case, at least to hear how a modern metal music should sound. Despite a career of 15 years long Machine Head sound as burning and topical as never and their reach music knowledge proves that qualitative metal is not just ardor and steam but the experience without which this kind of music simply cannot exist.