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Review: Machine Head - Unto the Locust

Rated:4.5/5

Passionate, adventurous, and intensely dynamic, seventh album Unto the Locust not only ups the ante on 2007's universally acclaimed The Blackening, it also presents Machine Head in an entirely new level of songwriting without sacrificing any of the band's heaviness. Classical guitars serve not only as intros to pounding anthems, but as emotional segues between musical shades. Rhythms range from bold, yet traditional to angular and experimental, and beats run the gamut from shuffling to blasting, with enough tumbling fills from drummer Dave McClain to rival Rush's Neil Peart. As a vocalist, Robb Flynn has never sounded better, transitioning between melancholy reflection and raw-throated rage as the songs demand, refusing to resort to ripping verse, melodic chorus cliches. Similarly, the guitar solos are carefully assembled and top-notch, whether slow and moody or lightning fast and adrenaline-pumping, serving, not as self-indulgent devices, but as bridges between painstakingly constructed song sections. Despite the challenging arrangements, Unto the Locust is insanely memorable, with immediate guitar hooks and harmonies tying together the many unconventional constructs, making eight-minute epics seem like three-minute singalongs. Unto the Locust isn't just a great album, it's an important statement that metal doesn't have to fall into trite categories or draw from pre-existing formulas to be accessible. Machine Head have made their new masterpiece. JON WIEDERHORN

Check out "Locust" off Unto the Locust below:



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