Review: Machine Head – Unto the Locust



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:

  • Andrew Blunt


    • S4colorado

      A incredible cd that is very diverse in its influences. Very grounded in the history of metal. Yet modern and dynamic.
      Best band out there right now. That comes from someone who has been a metal head for 30 years and really only got into MH the last few years.
      Well done fellas!

  • Brennen Elliott

    Really good album. Awesome Judas Priest cover!!!  Darkness within is also a really good song. Still not better than “The Blackening” though!!!

  • Guest

    no memorable riffs at all, I really don’t get the hype of the past two albums. This one will be forgotten in a couple months.

  • Mathieu Laugery

    As the arrival of Phil Demmel has enabled the group to another level crossing technique,MH mind is completely gone. A joint album with riffs, but interpreted. The voice of RobbFlynn efforts are noteworthy, but his voice is winded and refrains just verses spoil their lack of originality. My ear has never lied, this album is better than average, but with deep pockets. And as it is ….. M.H. we witness a festival of hypocrisy on the part of writers.
    My intuition tells me that Decibel mag should support my words …
    It saddens me because MH has especially been a reference in the 90’s they are nowimmersed in a uniform mass of groups they can no longer be distinguished. I did not likethis album, despite having listened to 3 times already …

  • Guest

    The more i listen to this, the better it gets. Great album. Shows growth and maturity. If this doesn’t get yur blood pumping, check for a pulse.

  • Dany

    Seriously, some people down there shall take some time to reflect if they’re into metal or what, ’cause MH’s ‘Unto the Locust’ is a complete masterpiece. ¿The hype of the past two albums? ‘The Blackening’ was given the honor of being the ‘Album of the decade’, so check it again. No comment on Mathieu Laugery… just because your ear isn’t made for the honey it doesn’t mean the rest of the specialist reviewers are wrong, grow up and leave the 90’s back, new century, new stuff (and quite better, I’m a huge MH fan, but I don’t really like ‘Burn my eyes’). Said. Congratulations to MH.

    • Guest

      Masterpiece? So you are willing to put this album in the same group as Master of Puppets? I question your metal integrity if you think the blackening was the best album of the decade just because magazines say so.

      • Dany

        I do put this in the same group. OK, maybe Master of Puppets got a higher impact in audience because of the times, now Metal is more underground in some way, but I haven’t heard any album like The Blackening. Many bands play similar stuff, but tell me one that sounds like Machine Head in that, I’d be really pleased if you did. And so, I’m not thinking of The Blackening as Album of the decade because of the reviews, as I said, I think that because any other album has made me feel that level in many time. Magazines simply supported my opinion by giving this awards. You get the difference, right? :-) C’mon, I don’t want to make this is to be like those ’50’s films vs ’00’s films’ argues, old stuff may be epic, but there’re some new that deserve that consideration too.

    • Omerta

      Man just because you are replying to some jerk does not mean you need to say that you dont like “Burn my eyes”. That album is aggressive and epic man. First time i heard davidian made me a life long fan of the band 

      • Dany

        I respect that, I know it makes some good feelings for many people, and that’s good, everyone is free to listen what they want to. I simply found it out quite late so if I compare it to ‘The Blackening’ and ‘Unto the Locust’ now, these are more complete albums to me. Just my opinion, my intention was to show there’s metal after 90’s or whatever.

    • Mathieu Laugery

      the honey…. you make me laugh. i live with my time and assume what i say. You are a huge fan of MH? and you don’t like burn my eyes? … we don’t talk about the same things.i was here when they was touring since the beginning…can you tell the same man?
      today people and magazines abusivly use words like “masterpiece”….i am 30,surely 20 years of passion till today and i don’t think you can say to me what my ears appreciate.i was headbanging when you was playing pokemon at school.
      Man,you are the bad side of metalheads……

  • mike

    Hey eh in england this band are massive and are headlining arenas why are they not as big in america?

  • Leeslater167

    Agreed – in the UK MH are massive and deserve all their praise. I feel this album has been build up as their greatest and not the Blackening 2, however many of the phrasings and songs seem like echos of Halo etc. After a couple of listens I like the album but to me it seems more like an EP or Blackening add-ons. When you look at the track list it feels more like 4 or 5 totally new songs and the rest being either covers or redressed previous songs. Don’t get me wrong I love this band and think it is great that they have done a RUSH cover, however a casing point is an acoustic version of a song already on the album as a sort of filler. In summary, great album but I feel that it has been rushed a little and stretched / panned out.

  • William O’Donnell

    machine head have spread there love juice to every one in the universe with this album thank u guys 

  • Megapurify

    Album of the year easy!

  • Anonymous

    I couldn’t agree more…except for the one anthem “Who We Are” which could’ve done without the children’s chorus. If it were a creepy chorus maybe but that part just sucks. The rest of the song isn’t bad musically but the lyrics are generic and cliché.

  • Mathieu Laugery

    Not a bad album but not the same band for me. Where is the soul of Machine Head?…. to the past….
    when i read “i don’t like burn my eyes”…..pfff….. i loose my words….lol
    @2587db55667fdd15ff954df5937a3831:disqus : yes man,Davidian= Chris kontos drums parts=wow.
    it make me think about the In flames fans who don’t like the early days of the band…..difficult to accept but also to understand. that’s the new generations of metalheads….

  • ginos76

    i am shocked and scared by new metalheads…..burn my eyes is the masterfucking piece…..all the rest are good but so far from what machine head was….since they lost chris they never reached the deepness of the sound…..