It’s been a long four years since The Blackening yet finally Unto the Locust, the seventh Machine Head album has arrived.
The album opens with the longest track on the album, entitled I Am Hell (Sonata in C#) which is broken into three segments. The first segment, Sangre Sani (Blood Saint), is a haunting and almost operatic beginning, with Robb Flynn’s vocals eerily repeating the phrase “Sangre Sani” over and over again before slowing gasping into one final breath. The second segment, I Am Hell, then kicks in and floors the listener, guitars screaming in unison as the drums thrash into life before Flynn’s growling and snarling vocals pound back into existence along with them. The third segment, Ashes to the Sky, is introduced with an acoustic guitar, slowing building up before the guitars fly back in and hammer through the song, with a pace that could kill.
The second track, entitled Be Still and Know opens with one of the best riffs on the album before pounding into the typical Machine Head that we’ve come to know and love over the years, furious guitars overlaying each other to create a harmony that sounds brilliant. The song ends and the third track, entitled Locust, quickly kicks in and continues the onslaught aimed at the listener with its guitar harmonies, blinding solos, furious drumming and edging vocals.
The fourth track, entitled This is the End starts off slowly with a beautiful melody played on a classical guitar as the snarling electric slowly starts to build in behind it and then the song slams into high guitar, the electric guitars combining as the double bass pedal of the drums scream and shout at the listener, making them pay attention to every note, every beat and every lyric.
Then the album moves into unknown territory for Machine Head with the fifth track, entitled Darkness Within, as the opening is a sombre riff as Flynn speaks over with a raw emotion in his throat, every word sounds like its being poured out from deep within his soul. The song continues with this as the drums and bass joins in with his vocals and he soon stops speaking and starts to power through with his vocals, still drenched with emotion.
The sixth track, entitled Pearls Before the Swine, powers open with the thunderous drums and scorching guitars as Flynn screams at the listener for the remainder of the song. The final track, entitled Who We Are, opens with a choir of children softly singing over a marching drum beat before Flynn takes their line and snarls it into his own and the song then kicks into a barrage of drum beats and screaming guitar riffs. The song then ends with the marching drum beat once again as a choir of violins elegantly take over from the guitars, sombrely close the album.
This is an album that brings together the right components to create something truly stunning, an album that has managed to top The Blackening and it is an album that will be listened to for years to come.