Rating: 9 / 10 Stars
MACHINE HEAD is: Robb Flynn (vocals/guitars), Wacław Kiełtyka (lead guitars), Jared MacEachern (bass), Matt Alston (drums)
REVIEW – Robb Flynn is one of those musicians who seems at times as his own worst enemy. The man is very opinionated in an industry where opinions are always perceived as tools to either inspire others to join your views or to have fans share their opposite opinion which leads to a ton of negativity. Does Robb deserve all the negative it seems he gets from metal website fan boards? I guess it depends on what view Robb is sharing on that day. You have to give the man so much credit, Machine Head has been around since Jeremy spoke in class and women were bragging about blow jobs in movie theaters. Much like Fear Factory, Machine Head seems to be one of those bands who have had small snippets of success but not overwhelming. The pattern it seems for this band is always the same, a strong album and then a decent follow up and then the experimental album that fans are not so receptive towards. The difference this time around is that after “ Catharsis” in 2018, who would have thought Machine Head would rise from the ashes? Most of the band quit, the fans were very loud and disappointed in the cd, Robb Flynn was painted in so many negative ways. The funny thing is that people are so fast to blast this band, but Machine Head always plays to pretty big crowds live. So, someone has to be seeing the shows and maybe not 100 percent honest in their words online? Who really knows, right. Put in the covid lockdown in all the things that did not benefit Machine Head.
To say, “ Of Kingdom and Crown” did not have heavy expectations to live up to, may be the biggest understatement of 2022. After the first two songs were released to youtube, fans got very excited. You have the first album featuring Vogg from Decapitated on guitar to add to the hype. I feel this first comment will feel redundant to the fans, “ This is the album we have been waiting for”. Drummer Matt Alston and bassist Jared McEachern feel passionate to add to the hunger of the mood that Flynn and Vogg lay down. “Of Kingdom and Crown” is experimental in the realm of being their first concept record. While this concept is not an “ Operation:Mindcrime” or “ The Wall”, it is a story that may not be so clear to most so they will provide their own take on it and still enjoy the ride. I am not sure if non-Machine Head fans will be so fast to love this album like the fans of the band will. “ Choke On The Ashes Of Your Hate” was the perfect song to get the fans to notice. The band just came out of the gates swinging in their most furious song in ages. “ Slaughter the Martyr” is the perfect opening track, it sets us in this dystopian world of torment head first into the cement. This album just continues the vision of this concept in such a passionate and poetic crunch, that you have to admire that the band decided to go into such a deep thoughtful album that also will evoke any moshpit to go ape shit.
My issue is not so much the record, it is that I feel Robb and crew will never get their due or respect from the community. That has more to do with the opinionated lead singer more than the music. That gripe to the side, this is a very strong album by a band that has made a living off of proving fans and critics wrong when people counted them out. “ Become the Firestorm” is proof that this band is far from over. Though songs like “ My Hands are Empty” and “ Unhallowed” are great songs, they also can be seen the same way that Robb has attacked other bands on originality. “ No Gods, No Masters” can also be seen in that vein, this is clearly a good song but it truly feels like it could have come from a number of other bands. Machine Head fans should be stoked, the band has put out a solid album. Non fans should be ready because now we will get all the press from them about this album. I feel this album will be in many top ten lists at the end of the year. I do not see how this cd could miss mine. It is the cd I wanted when I heard they were putting out a new one. The story was fun to follow and the music is all over the metal map in terms of keeping me guessing and my attention.