Machine Head – Unto the Locust
Machine Head really hit it just right with their 2007 album The Blackening and many have rightly called it their best album. Their fluid blend of thrash and groove metal seemed the epitome of what the New Wave of American Heavy Metal was all about and it placed them among Lamb of God, Mastodon, and Killswitch Engage as leaders of the movement. It has been four long years since that release, quite possibly due to the band being afraid that they couldn’t top it. If that was the case, they were right.
Their latest offering entitled Unto the Locust serves up much of the same style as The Blackening, but just nowhere near as tight. Even at only seven songs, and at a fairly reasonable running time of around 50 minutes, the album still feels overlong. It seems as if Machine Head used the new record to indulge in every idea they had, afraid to throw anything out. Almost every song features an acoustic intro and they all progress in the same way.
An album to match The Blackening is buried somewhere in Unto the Locust. I know this to be true because every song still has excellent moments, with the possible exception of “Darkness Within,” which is strikingly uninteresting. Rob Flynn’s solos are as good as ever and the lyrics are also quite commendable, although he could put a little more work into the clean vocals. Nonetheless, “Locust” and “Pearls Before the Swine” stand out as the only songs able to justify their length, but the aforementioned acoustic intros do get old by the fourth time they make an appearance.
Unto the Locust has great moments and manages to showcase Machine Head’s best qualities, but too many elements wear out their welcome in the process.
By: Matt Lyles