Just the once will not hurt, I’ll give another chance to a band I actually never enjoyed: Machine Head.
Created in 1991 in the United States by Robb Flynn (guitar/vocals, ex-Vio-lence, ex-Forbidden Evil), the band evolves in a melting of Nu Metal, then Groove and Thrash Metal. Accompanied by Jared MacEachern (bass/vocals, ex-Sanctity), Matt Alston (drums, Eastern Front, ex-Devilment) and Vogg (guitar, Decapitated, Lux Occulta), they announce the release of Of Kingdom and Crown, their twelfth album, in 2002.
Drums were recorded by Navene Koperweis (Entheos, Job for a Cowboy, ex-Animals as Leaders).
The album begins with Slaughter the Martyr, a ten-minutes long composition which will makes us travel from a mysterious ambience with intense vocals to jerky energetic riffs and powerful howlings. The changing is quite well done, and the rhythmic allows hooking choruses full of heady choirs strike before letting melancholy guiding the final, before Choke on the Ashes of Your Hate makes us nod. Fast-paced riffs are coupled to equally fast vocal parts which perfectly fit the obvious aggressiveness we also have on Become the Firestorm and its raw riffs. Clean vocals parts will create a contrast with raging blast and heaviness the band spreads on breaks, but also with lead parts. Overdose allows us to breath for a moment before My Hands Are Empty makes aggressiveness rebirth accompanied by Logan Mader (Once Human, Meshiaak, ex-Soulfly, ex-Machine Head) while offering seizing parts, with some backing vocals. Unhallowed unveils appeasing and melodic sonorities before letting place to groovy and solid riffs again, but also to melancholic choruses and epic leads. The last chorus drives us to Assimilare, another strange interlude which introduce Kill Thy Enemies and its hooking modernity. The band picks into its hooking roots as well as into Heavy influences to create some unique sound between softness and rage we also have on No Gods, No Masters, a vindictive composition which offers an interesting progression and devastating explosions. Very federative, the song is still quite accessible, even borrowing from Metalcore before reconnecting with raw effectiveness on Bloodshot, a way more straightforward track. The sound easily reminds us the band’s first releases, just like on Rotten and its shrilling harmonics, but it goes back to modern heaviness with this effective break and mesmerizing clean vocals. Terminus offers a last moment of respite with this strange sample, then Arrows in Words from the Sky comes to close the album with a melting of soaring sonorities, a hooking rhythmic and shards of mastered aggressiveness to give life to those worked lyrics.
As I said before, Machine Head always left me cold before. But Of Kingdom and Crown knew how to tickle my curiosity, spreading diversified and complementary influences while temporizing its intensity. A great one.