Check out Metal Hammer Germany's 7/7 Album of the Month review of "Unto The Locust", written by Matthias Weckmann and translated below! Be sure to pick up your copy of the October issue, as well as the October issue of Rock Hard, also featuring Robb on the cover!
MACHINE HEAD - UNTO THE LOCUST
"Unto The Locust" is a candidate for album of the year. The expectations have been colossal, but "Unto The Locust" is even bigger. After the worldwide success of "The Blackening" and its subsequent entry into the metal history books (the second time Machine Head has accomplished the feat, the first being their debut "Burn My Eyes" in 1994), Machine Head have become one of the only bands that appeal to both modern metal fans and old school lunatics alike. While on tour with Metallica in 2009, frontman Robb Flynn mentioned that he wanted to return to short, concise songs. Well, that didn't quite work out as planned, since "Unto The Locust" is still a fairly complex record full of longer songs, albeit not quite as complex and long as many of the songs on "The Blackening". The songs here clock in between five and eight minutes, all the while Robb Flynn, guitarist Phil Demmel, bassist Adam Duce and, first and foremost, drummer Dave McClain push their instruments to the maximum. You simply can't compose classic metal in a more powerfully modern way than Machine Head have here; the solos constantly leave your jaw on the floor, before the wrecking balls of pure thrash smash your skull. "Unto The Locust" has it all: pace, ability and the typical Machine Head spirit that forces you to clench your fist and scream right into the confused face of the person standing next to you on the subway.
Right out of the gate the opener "I Am Hell (Sonata in C#)" kick-starts the album like a twenty-ton truck. The quartet nails this "Damage Inc."-like massacre into our cortex with the precision of a high-powered rifle, leaving the listener in need of a break to bring their pulse down a little. Instead, "Be Still And Know" follows, an homage to Iron Maiden whose mixture of epic climax, speed attacks and stunning solos is the cherry on top of the sundae. Too complex for your ears? Then you may wreck your neck to the already-released "Locust", whose choppy main riff reminds you of Machine Head's early years, and representing an integral part of the "Unto The Locust" universe with its simpler and more direct structure. The mid-song instumental section combines twin guitars with a Metallica-esque groove that is among the best you'll hear all year. Next up is my personal favorite track on the album: "This Is The End". Quite honestly a perfect song. Starting with an acoustic intro and followed by Swedish melodic death metal influences that lead to its epic peak, these six minutes and eleven seconds should be written into every encyclopedia under the subject "Metal". Seventeen replays later and this song still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. The ballad "The Darkness Within" offers you time to catch your breath, albeit briefly. Robb Flynn impresses here with his varied and haunting voice, a song that could very well be the brother of the song "The Burning Red", with a satisfying climax all its own. "Pearls Before The Swine" is the only song on the album that struggles with some arrangement issues, comprised of a number of different-feeling sections, however all are pleasing to listen to individually.
The exclamation point of the record is the more-cohesive "Who We Are", a classic that starts with a children's choir, yet after 40 minutes of tirelessly headbanging to the rest of the album, still scores with an soaring climax that'll be stuck in your head for days to follow. For my part, I - Attention: Sacrilege - like "Unto The Locust" even more than "The Blackening", because the songs get to the point quicker and it embodies greater vehemence, without feeling too long. There won't be many best-of Metal lists for 2011 that won't include "Unto The Locust". But enough with all the talking, this melodic grenade demands every second of your attention - don't talk, just headbang!
- Matthias Weckmann
Check out FaceCulture's excellent 5-part interview covering a wide range of topics:
In celebration of the much anticipated release of their new album "Unto The Locust" on September 27th, Machine Head will be attending four listening events in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Oakland. These events provide fans with an opportunity to celebrate the album’s release with the band and hear the acclaimed new album in its entirety, already being hailed by music journalists world wide as their best offering to date.
Machine Head will join fans, friends and industry at all four events, each unique in its own way, but every one promises to be a night to remember. ** Please note, Machine Head will not be performing at any of the events. ** Says vocalist/guitarist Robb Flynn of the festivities, "There are listening parties being held for this release all over the world, but we felt that putting a handful of events together here in the States and attending them ourselves would be a great way to give our fans and friends across the country a chance to hear the album before its release, and us a chance to hang with all of them as that’s happening. We can’t wait!"
These events will be free to attend, but space is limited at some of these venues so please arrive early to ensure entry. Look for more details to come about additions to the festivities such as presenters, prize giveaways, etc. The dates for all four events are as follows:
Thu Sep 22 - LA, CA - On The Rox (upstairs at The Roxy Theatre), 9009 West Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069 - Presented by Full Metal Jackie - 10:00 PM, 21 & Over.
Sat Sep 24 - NY, NY - Last Rites Tattoo Theatre & Gallery, 511 West 33rd St, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10001 - 9:00 PM, All Ages.
Sun Sep 25 – Chicago, IL - Exit, 1315 West North Ave, Chicago, Il 60622 - Presented by The Chicago Metal Factory - 9:00 PM, 21 & Over.
Tue Sep 27 – Oakland, CA - Oakland Metro Operahouse, 630 3rd St, Oakland, CA 94607 - 8:00 PM, All Ages.
Also in anticipation of the release of "Unto The Locust", Full Metal Jackie will be premiering a brand new track from the album this coming weekend, September 16-18. To find a radio station near you carrying the show, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com, facebook.com/fullmetaljackie666 or twitter.com/fullmetaljackie.
"Unto The Locust" will officially be unleashed upon the world starting with Japan on the 21st, Germany on the 23rd, the U.K. & Europe on the 26th, and North America on the 27th! Pre-order your copy now!
- Pre-order the official "Unto The Locust" album Fanpack here!
- Pre-order the "Unto The Locust" Special Edition bundle here!
The world exclusive first review of Machine Head's new album "Unto The Locust" is in courtesy of Metal Hammer, and let's just say you're gonna wanna read this:
UNTO THE LOCUST
San Francisco’s metal giants up the ambition to Biblical proportions.
TRULY iconic metal bands come along only once or twice in each generation, and if Metallica and Slayer are the groups who stand tallest from the 1980s, then surely Slipknot and Machine Head are their 1990s equivalents. All four came out of the blocks with planet-levelling intensity, endured periods off the creative boil and finally attained ‘classic’ status – but of the four, only Machine Head can honestly claim to still be making the best music of their lives. And make no mistake, that’s what ‘Unto The Locust’ is: the most accomplished album that Robb Flynn, Phil Demmel, Adam Duce and Dave McClain have ever recorded, alongside their two career-framing records, ‘Burn My Eyes’ and ‘The Blackening’. Like the former, ‘Unto The Locust’ boasts a sonic palette overflowing with box-fresh ideas; like the latter, the album is a storm of complex arrangements and riffs, compiled by musicians who have gained absolute command of their vision. It’s a breathtaking work.
Right from the off it’s obvious that Machine Head are out to take chances, and consequences be damned. The three-song ‘I Am Hell’ suite begins with a minute of choral vocals before breaking into one of the huge, fully leaded groove riffs the band have made their trademark. Predictable, you say? Well, less than three minutes later your jaw will have hit the floor, because Machine Head are now playing murderously fast thrash metal. Your favourite metal band, no matter who they are, would find it a challenge to match this immense song, not least because it devolves into harmonised acoustic guitars and strings.
‘Be Still And Know’ follows up this epic opener with an amazing, Joe Satriani-style guitar loop loaded with delay. It’s a beast: the only track under six minutes long on this vast album, and even then, only just. Shredders extraordinaire Robb and Phil are on fire, layering multiple guitar solos just like they did on ‘Aesthetics Of Hate’ last time out.
You’ve heard ‘Locust’ by now, and doesn’t that central riff remind you of ‘The Black Album’-era Metallica? But there are way too many ideas flying about for that reference to stick for long, with the song going in multiple directions. There’s that huge, audience-levelling groove at 3:16 and 6:40, which you’ll play again and again until your ears bleed – and then there’s Robb’s sweet, choirboy tenor. Told you they had a lot of ideas. This applies to ‘This Is The End’, too, a meaty thrash tune for the pit jockeys which features a classical guitar intro.
The core of this fully evolved album is ‘The Darkness Within’, which the Machine Head bandmembers have been reluctant to define in interviews – and with good reason. The first couple of minutes are Robb as Bob Dylan, with lines such as “I’m just a broken man” ripped from him while the song builds with agonising slowness. This is emotion at its rawest, and utterly different from anything we’ve heard from Machine Head to date. After that, the upbeat ‘Pearls Before The Swine’ keeps things going at a ferocious pace. ‘Unto The Locust’ winds up with ‘Who We Are’, an experimental blend of children’s choral vocals, strings and an infectious chord sequence. At 4:13 there’s a maddeningly intense high-speed riff – but it only lasts 10 seconds, the swines...
Cherish ‘Unto The Locust’: you’ll be living with it for a long time. There appears to be no end to Machine Head’s inspiration at this point: God only knows what they’ll come up with next.
Is there a question you've been dying to ask Robb Flynn, Phil Demmel, Adam Duce or Dave McClain? With the new album "Unto The Locust" ready to hit stores on September 27th, the guys are offering fans a rare opportunity to get their questions answered directly by the band! E-mail your question(s) to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, September 12th at 10 AM EST. When and how will the band be answering? We'll let you know. Stay tuned!
- Spokane, WA US Jun 24
- Portland, OR US Jun 26
- Fresno, CA US Jun 28
- San Bernardino, CA US Jun 29
- Mountain View, CA US Jun 30
- Boise, ID US Jul 02
- Auburn, WA US Jul 03
- Phoenix, AZ US Jul 05
- Albuquerque, NM US Jul 06
- Denver, CO US Jul 07