Those who know me, know that I have made it no secret that I feel that Machine Head is one of the best metal bands around today, if not of all time. It is also no secret that I regard 2007's release The Blackening as one of the best metal bands of all time. Granted... that's only my opinion, but it's no coincidence that Metal Hammer magazine awarded The Blackening with their "Album of the Decade" award, as well as receiving multiple Grammy nominations.
Well... Today, is a day I've awaited for almost five years, because today, Machine Head released their seventh album. Entitled "Unto the Locust," this album was honestly like a refreshing slap in the face reminding me of pretty much every reason I adore Metal. In my opinion, this album is easily on par with The Blackening... which in the day of increasingly radio friendly melodicism that seems to haunt heavy metal bands, is increasingly rare to see a band match the ferocity of a previous album (especially when their last album was almost a half-decade ago).
Don't get me wrong... when listening to Unto the Locust, you can easily tell that Machine Head has evolved, and matured as a band... but in all the right ways. As I mentioned above, this album keeps all the raw ferocity of Blackening, but it sounds like it comes much more easily this time around, and not so forced. Keeping with their style, all the tracks are between five and nine minutes long, but I found myself not noticing the length because the tracks all flow so well.
Now... if you go on the interwebz and look at reviews for Unto the Locust you'll notice that many American reviewers rated this album negatively, whereas almost all the reviews from Europe gave it rave reviews. I'm honestly not sure why some of the American sites gave it the negative reviews they did, and I almost wonder if they listened to a different album than I did... because I am honestly blown away by it. I don't really know exactly how to convey how incredibly satisfied I am with this album. In a year where most of the "great" bands' releases (i.e. In Flames, Scar Symmetry, Soilwork...) have been either mediocre or downright letdowns, I am relieved that at least one of my favorite bands still remembers how to make decent Metal.
Seriously... if you are a fan of Metal and are looking for something new to listen to, check this album out. It is beyond epic.