1. Machine Head – The Blackening (2007)
Machine Head had already fired a warning shot to naysayers when they released 2003’s return-to-form Through The Ashes Of Empires and while this went some way to appeasing fans after their ill-advised dalliances with Nu-Metal on 1999’s underated The Burning Red and 2001’s pretty ropey Supercharger, not even Machine Head’s most faithful fans could have expected what was to come next.
The Blackening is one of those albums that comes along once in a generation, an album so focused and stripped of music industry bullsh*t that you can’t fail to be bowled over by its sheer impact. Machine Head had finally returned to their roots and emerged re-born; the results were stunning.
Opening track, “Clenching The Fists Of Dissent”, is the most authentic Thrash Metal song recorded since the heyday of the genre and “Aesthetics Of Hate” is also a thrilling example of modern Thrash at its absolute finest. This album is no one-dimensional Thrash release though. Elsewhere, slow-burning and epic balladry in the shape of “Halo” ups the ante further, while “Now I Lay Thee Down” chugs, shreds and roars as fierce as Machine Head classics “Davidian”, “Old” and “Take My Scars”.
Pared down to just 8 faultless tracks (bonus CD tracks aside), The Blackening harks back to the days when bands were more concerned with quality over quantity and the quality shines through in abundance.
The Blackening is a rage-filled, teeth-bared, pummel-fest that not only surpassed all the band had achieved in the past but solidified their reputation as modern Metal’s flag-bearers; progressive, dominating and all conquering.
With a UK tour in full swing, check out our gig review here, you’d do well to purchase some tickets while you still can; Machine Head are leading the charge, you might want to tag-along.
Close, but no cigar: Enslaved – Ruun, Strapping Young Lad – Alien, In Flames – Clayman, Deftones – White Pony, Celtic Frost – Monotheist