Review #37: Machine Head – Bloodstone & Diamonds

Artist – Machine Head
Album – Bloodstone & Diamonds (2014)

Check it out – https://open.spotify.com/album/5tC5plFI31vFzgBzZT6E4d

Machine Head are an American metal band from California. The band began in 1992, currently made up of singer/guitarist Robb Flynn, bassist Jared MacEachern, drummer Dave McClain and guitarist Phil Demmel. Machine Head gained an enthusiastic fan base through their first few albums, bringing something fresh to a genre that was getting stale. It was ‘The Blackening’ that really pushed this band to new heights, becoming a must listen for any metal fan. Machine Head went on to release ‘Unto The Locust’ 4 years later and now release their 8th album ‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’.

I do believe that Machine Head have created something in ‘The Blackening’ which with forever be compared to whatever else they write. This may be viewed as a good thing, as they’ve created something that sits amongst the best of the best, but this also means unless they strike gold again nothing will ever seem good enough. This has happened again with ‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’, by itself this is a great album, but aside ‘The Blackening’ it is a step down. If we ignore the previous statement Machine Heads new effort is an epic, dramatic and aggressive piece of work, dynamically pushing the boundaries of standard riff based metal. The standard instrumentation of the band is excellent, including a few powerful solos and tight rhythmic work from bass, drums and guitar. On the other hand the band have experimented with vocal harmonies (almost sounding like Gregorian chanting) and orchestral arrangements in songs such as ‘Now We Die’ and ‘Sail Into Black’ to create the previously stated epic/dramatic feel to each track. Production tends to always sound great on Machine Head albums, and this is no exception, recorded and mixed in a way that gives some real balls to a style of music which is missing them at the minute.

Aside from the comparison to ‘The Blackening’ this is a great album, well worth a listen by any Machine Head or general metal fan. Plus if we were to compare it to previous Machine Head albums it is a damn sight better than ‘Unto The Locust’ fyi.

7/10

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