Machine Head's new album, "Through the Ashes of Empires" was written and recorded while Machine Head was an unsigned band in the US. I don't think it's a coincidence that this is the best album they've released since their first.
It's no mystery that I like cheeseburgers. I eat cheeseburgers quite often, and even the most powerful people in the world enjoy a good cheeseburger. So, when Kayn asked me if I would do a review on cheeseburgers, the answer was obvious. I said, "No!" and I did a review on Machine Head's new album instead. That will show him; that will show him good!
Machine Head's newest album, Through the Ashes of Empires, has still yet to be released in the US. It was released in the UK in October under Road Runner UK, yet for whatever reason Machine Head was dropped from Road Runner USA and the band was looking for a label for the US release. Eventually the band settled with Road Runner again, and the album will be released in North America on April 20th. There will even be a new track entitled "Seasons Wither," but for this review's purposes I'm going to go off of the UK release.
Through the Ashes of Empires is heavy! Heavy like a train that's doing things that would be referred to as heavy. And that's pretty heavy. The album has a very old school feel to it while still retaining a little bit of what Machine Head has been evolving into over the years. Not to say that The Burning Red or Supercharger were all that bad, but many fans, including myself, felt those albums to be steps in the wrong direction for Machine Head. Fans of Burn My Eyes and The More Things Change will be pleasantly surprised with the new album. And trains with heavy traits everywhere will be compared to Machine Head.
The guitar tones on Ashes are meaner, and the production has been brought down with less glitz and more gritty metal sounds. Even the band's image has changed back to the way they were. Take lead singer Robert Flynn as an example:
Flynn in 1999
Flynn in 2003
Now, whether or not the change in the late 90s had something to do with Road Runner Records pushing Machine Head to appeal to the "rap-metal" audience that was popular at the time can be argued. But, it was Ross Robinson who produced Burn My Eyes, the first album to take Machine Head in a direction that couldn't be changed until they were dropped from the label completely. If you don't know who Ross Robinson is, he's produced many rap-rock type bands such as Limp Bizkit and Korn, not too hard to assume why Road Runner decided to pair the band with him, since the rap-rock thing was, and for the most part still is, so popular.
The songwriting and structure of the songs is much more enjoyable this time around. Many interesting and well-placed leads and solos bring a longer life to the album, most notable in the first track, "Imperium," which really sets the tone for just how much Machine Head has changed from the last time you've heard them. All in all, this new album was what the band wanted to make. The album was produced by Flynn himself, so we know this is the album they've been wanting to put out for who knows how long. Through the Ashes of Empires has already become a hit in the UK, and it's not hard to understand why. Hopefully it's success will be a wakeup call to Road Runner not to change their bands to fit a mold that may be popular at the time. Because once that fad moves on, the band they changed to fit in becomes obsolete.
In conclusion, Wendy's cheese burgers are very good, and so is Through the Ashes of Empires.
|Sound/Production||The guitar tone wants to kill you a lot more than the other recent albums.||4.5|
|Presentation||Over-all presentation is happy. Murderous happy!||4.5|
|Originality||Back to what made me love Machine Head in the first place.||4|
|Songwriting||Longer songs with well placed solos and leads.||4|
|Deathy/Heavyness||Makes you want to kill things with an object that is known to cause death!||4.5|
|Final Verdict: 4.3|