Review by Tomek on April 26, 2007.
Machine Head's story is well known by everybody, so allow me to skip the flashback and go straight to the point. It looks like after the great "Through the Ashes of Empires", Machine Head didn't stop and now they served us another excellent release.
"The Blackening" is not an easy or simple album to listen to, considering that most of the songs reach mammoth size and there is so much going on that it's hard to take in. It is not an album that most will like or understand after few listening sessions and it is definitely not an album that you can play to relax or to play while doing something. But it is an album that will pound you with its neck breaking crushriffs, harmonic structures, and musical arrangements, thundering drumming and very passionate and angry singing. It is an album that beats most releases out there with the amount of excellent solos, which come in any size, length, combination, volume and complexity. It is an album with vocals that are very solid, powerful and aggressive, but also full of feeling in the slower, more personal moments. It is an album where intense drumming and pounding bass will put you in a trance like state stealing your sanity. It is an album that demands your attention, demands your blood, your sweat, your tears and your very soul.
Machine Head outdid themselves this time and to me it seems that the whole band is more focused, more determined but also more unified. In all aspects they show consistent progression that shines all the way through. "The Blackening" is definitely a huge step forward for Machine Head and with what I believe is their best work in a while (if not to date); I am very happy with the way they have chosen to go.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 8.4 out of 10