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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW! BUY NOW!
Well, I have been waiting a long time for this album to come out and I have got to say I have not been let down!

The Blackening is said to be a big epic of the metal canvas which I first thought would be a huge overstatement... but I was wrong! This album is a musical milestone for the awesome Machine Head... Kerrang! have given this album a 5 out of 5... and i...
Published on 28 Mar 2007 by Sarah Fairclough

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I once wanted Robb to adopt me!
I love Machine Head (and was into Robb's pre-Machine Head album Vio-Lence) so I bought this album upon its original release last year. Despite sticking with Machine Head through their "nu-metal" phase and the critical disaster that was "Spercharger", I just can't get into "The Blackening". Yes, its got it all, riffs galore, angst ridden songs like only Robb and crew can...
Published on 5 Nov 2008 by Lee Vickers


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW! BUY NOW!, 28 Mar 2007
By 
Sarah Fairclough (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Blackening (Audio CD)
Well, I have been waiting a long time for this album to come out and I have got to say I have not been let down!

The Blackening is said to be a big epic of the metal canvas which I first thought would be a huge overstatement... but I was wrong! This album is a musical milestone for the awesome Machine Head... Kerrang! have given this album a 5 out of 5... and i must say its not often they do that! And even Metal Hammer have given this album a 10 out of 10.. this album is truely and utterly awesome and every metal fan on earth should BUY IT NOW!!!! It is not only a Machine Head milestone proving Through The Ashes Of Empire was not just all they can produce of good musical class but it is a metal milestone.. people are going to be talking about this album for years to come.. it is the new 'Master Of Puppets' so make sure you are a part of this phenomenon... you will be making metal history!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars priceless, 28 Mar 2007
By 
sean paul mccann "mccanns23" (ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Blackening (Audio CD)
With machine heads debut they brought themselves to the world,with the follow up they kept us closer than before,with the burning red we kinda jumped back a bit,the nu-metal stylings horrified,with supercharger the world kinda looked at machine head with love again but in time that faded somwhat,with the brilliant through the ashes of the empire machine head had a hand on the metal world and now with their new album the blackening,machine head are on track to take the metal world back as their own,my tip is to back them on doing it.

The blackening on first appearances has the look of an old school thrash album,eight songs in total,just like the old days there then,the running time is just over a hour so the average song length is just over 7 minutes long,that may concern some but trust me when i say that the diversity within and the quality of chorus' charged down with solo work that swims in the waters of 80s thrash make for moments that we were born to enjoy.

The album opens with the bruising 'clenching the fists of dissent',a 10 minute epic that swirls all over the place with riffage that can tear a hole in your wall from 100 yards,rob flynn shouts his lyrics with force and focus and the music in the background is as metal as metal can be without delving into the dark side of metal (ie) black metal for example,machine head thrive on their melodies and here they compliment furious riffs,with speeding drums that knock the senses along with slower,more melodic and soothing sections.One such example can be found on 'beautiful mourning',a great song that will find its way into your head sooner rather than later.'Aesthetics of hate' follows and is as angry a song as the machine have ever written,inspired by a journalist who praised the murder of dimebag darrell,it doesnt take a genius to work out that the lyrics here could well start a riot.

'Now i lay thee down' is another masterful song with yards of melody and metal fused together,the remaining four tracks all contain the brilliance of the classics,savage and fast riffing,along with slower cruncier tracks and little in terms of breakdowns,in fact there isnt any at all i believe,anyway this album is a grower as opposed to a shower at first,for example it took me a while to love the track 'wolves' but repeate listens have shown me a great song.

Machine head have played the old card that usually annoys me by comparing this album to metallicas master of puppets,time will tell of course,but this is the first five out of five album of 2007,whether we are all telling our kids about it in 2027 remains to be seen.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most complex and techinical album by Machine Head to date, 16 Mar 2007
By 
W. Poustchi (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Blackening (Audio CD)
This is my favorite MH album since Burn my eyes. TTAOE was a really good album but I thought there were a few weak songs on the album. Every song is strong on this album with every track bringing something new to the mix. The riffs are the most complex they have ever written and they have stuffed every track with a great solo to boot.If you are a new/old Machine head fan you wont be disappointed! This is surely one of the best albums of the 21st century!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Roadrunner fans swindle (again) but worth it, 27 Oct 2008
Ok so maybe my title for this review is a little unfair, but it does annoy me the way Roadrunner continually rip off the fandbase of its artist roster, rererere-releasing albums but with little treats each time to make us part with our cash. by shining example take the Roots album by Sepultura. How many times was that released?

The Blackening is a superb album, seen by many as a return to form building on the stunning "Ashes of Empires."
The best thing about this re-release is the B-Sides and Rarities cd.
Machine Head have doen some corking tunes that have been hard to track down. Alan's On Fire - the bonus track from the digipak special edition of Burn My Eyes, and My Misery from the Demon Knight OST & The More Things Change Japanese import. although some tracks arent that great.. Colors is a fine example, what they HELL where they thinking?
Anyway, this is a nice repackaging, and although it sucks that Roadrunner have made us all buy the Blackening AGAIN, to get this rarities CD, there are more inclusions on this DVD than were on the DVD special edition that the Blackening originally came with, I just think its a shame we couldn't have had a b-sides and rarities album on its own (because i dont have the restraint neccessary to not buy something i already have, especially when enticed by a few extra bits and pieces - take all 5 reissued carcass albums for example).
Although i will put my money on The Blackening being released again at some point with an "Even more special edition" like they did with the 20years of Roadrunner re-release of Roots by Sepultura.. any old excuse eh..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of their best since Burn My Eyes, 6 Jan 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Blackening (Audio CD)
The Blackening is easily one of the best examples of a true 'back to roots' approach after an embarrassing stint with rap-metal. Although 'Through the Ashes of Empires' was a solid detour into familiar metal, this is where front man Robb Flynn decided to truly take Machine Head back to what made Burn My Eyes a trash metal classic and build upon it with epic song structures spelling out themes of anti-war, corporate America and hatred towards those who truly deserve it (Aesthetics of Hate being a very verbal retaliation on an equally verbal attack on legendary guitarist Dimebag Darrel).

At times it feels overly long and bloated in terms of structure but the frantic energy quickly grows on you and it offers a ton of catchy hooks and guitar riffs that demand constant reply. The Blackening, while not one of the greatest heavy metal albums ever made, is certainly a crowning achievement for Machine Head.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back In Black, 30 Mar 2007
By 
This review is from: The Blackening (Audio CD)
Through The Ashes Of The Empire reassured fans that the band were still capable of churning out hardcore thrash metal. What it also did was provide the blueprint for this masterpiece. The album may consist of 8 tracks but its quality over quantity this time as Machine Head's musicianship reaches a new level. Take for instance the duelling guitars battling it out on Aesthetics Of Hate, the side slamming riffage displayed on Beautiful Mourning and the headbanger's delight Slanderous. All of which proves Machine Head's existence within the world of metal is somewhat refreshingly welcomed once again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Machine head churn out their Master of Puppets, 19 Mar 2007
This review is from: The Blackening (Audio CD)
Before Machine Head released "Ashes" they were on the brink of collapse, all their previous albums had been met with uncertainty from fans that Machine Head would never return to the glory they achieved in Burn My Eyes. After reforming late into 2001 the band set out to prove a point that they were indeed still a very credible heavy metal band. Along came "Ashes" and some people considered it to be the best machine head had released to date, they had restored faith in current fans and achieved in collecting a massive fanbase.

But many still considered machine head to have yet released anything groundbreaking, something which would set in stone the bands intentions. It is with their new album "The Blackening" that they really answer all their critics.

After multiple listens I have yet to find a single thing I do not like about this album. Rob Flynn's vocal performance is simply stunning, ranging from guttoral roars, to amazing harmonies with bassist Adam Duce. Its not only the vocals that impresses, The guitar work is incredible, riff upon riff of wonderous heaviness are pounded out, soloes squeal and screech their way onto every track. Nothing I have heard has ever even touched the talent on display here.

Being a drummer myself I was very impressed with the drumming on this album, Dave McClain really has great skill, double bass thunders out at super speed and elaborate patterns are woven to make the structure of the songs complete.

What Machine Head have produced here is their "Master of Puppets". II eagerly anticipate seeing them at Download this year and being able to take part in their equally stunning sets.

I seriously recommend that you buy this album, it will stun those who arent already a fan of machine head and amaze those who already are. Well done Machine head you have made my metal year!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely one of Machine Head's best so far!, 25 Aug 2011
This review is from: The Blackening (Audio CD)
Throughout their history as a band, Machine Head have been known to move with the times and ring the musical changes when necessary, and they've stayed on that path for their sixth album "The Blackening". This has led to some criticism of the band as 'trend-following', but on The Blackening they're playing very well thought-out, technically proficient music in an age where untalented music rules the charts and any songs that don't get to the hook within 15 seconds are either heavily edited or denied airplay altogether. Are the songs on this album long? Yes. Are they boring? Not in the slightest.

Frontman Robb Flynn remains on top form vocally, armed with one hell of a metal scream and associated range that quite a lot of other metal singers do not boast. But Flynn also shows diversity by breaking the screams up with occasional clean vocals, most of which are very well done; for proof, listen to his heroic-sounding singing on "Beautiful Mourning", "Now I Lay Thee Down" and the epic closing track "A Farewell To Arms", arguably the strongest song on the album and definitely the most dynamic. On guitar, Flynn has said that he sees himself and co-guitarist Phil Demmel as "a guitar team". On this album, they sound nothing short of that, trading riffs and solos and often playing double-harmony lines simultaneously, for example during the mid-section of the famous Dimebag tribute "Aesthetics of Hate".

Lyrically, the album presents the band's views on a range of things that were going on in society and the wider world back then, and that are pretty much still going on now. The lyrics discuss everything from social prejudice ("Slanderous") and conspiracy theories ("Clenching The Fists of Dissent") to organised religion ("Halo") and wartime disenchantment and rebellion ("A Farewell To Arms"). The one notable exception to these 'social commentary' subjects is third track "Aesthetics of Hate", which as previously mentioned is a direct tribute to murdered Pantera and Damageplan guitarist Dimebag Darrell and a one-fingered salute at William Grim and his backwards-thinking Iconoclast cronies. To the band's credit, what the album does not talk about lyrically is uninteresting, superficial subjects like alcohol, drugs or cheating, which is perhaps another reason why radio stations playing bland songs about bland subjects refuse to play much metal these days.

The rest of the rhythm section is made up of Dave McClain and Adam Duce, with Duce contributing occasional backing vocals that work well with Flynn's lead. True to form, McClain recorded six of his eight drum tracks in the first day of recording and you couldn't ask for more solid metal drumming on this album, with plenty of double kick-pedalling and lightning-speed fills to split the record apart. Duce's bass-playing holds up the bottom end of the record, and some of his phrasing is very melodic in places, bringing the bass to the foreground in songs like "Halo" and "Now I Lay Thee Down".

On the whole, a very good metal album and one that hopefully Machine Head won't be too knackered from touring to match on their upcoming seventh release "Unto The Locust"! In an interview just before The Blackening came out, Flynn said that the band pushed themselves as musicians harder than they'd ever pushed themselves before. Listening to it and comparing it with previous Machine Head releases, I can well believe that. So if you're a modern metal fan, then get yourself a copy of this and give it a listen, regardless of any preconceptions you might have of this band. And remember: songs don't have to be 3 and a half minutes long to be good. "Hallowed Be Thy Name" was over 7 minutes long and no-one seems to criticize that one for its length! Music can be 10 minutes long and take you on an epic musical rollercoaster ride, so to anyone who's skipping tracks on this album, LISTEN TO IT PROPERLY!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just brilliant, 14 Jun 2011
This review is from: The Blackening (Audio CD)
To begin with, Machine Head's style of music isn't one I'd say I was a fan of: groove, death, thrash, whatever. I generally like rock and goth, but I'm open to lots of genres. And so I gave The Blackening a go, based on the hype. And just... Wow. The individual parts, like screamed vocals, lightning guitar, they're not my kind of thing. But they add together to something so much more than the sum of their parts. Songs are genuinely interesting to listen to, and the sound it gives is deeply atmospheric without having to resort to electronics prevalent in, for example, nu metal; It's all in the guitars and the unexpectedly brilliant and original drumming, which transcends the usual Gatling gun death/thrash double-kick salvos for the most part. I really recommend this album, even to someone like me who isn't a metalhead. It really is rewarding and, actually, exciting to listen to.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's in japanese O_O, 29 Dec 2008
Yes that's right, it's in Japanese, but explainations for this can wait 'till after you've read my review.

The initial album, The Blackening, is absolutely wonderful. Of late I've been exploring more Classical, Baroque, Romantic and Folk variations on metal and just those genres as they stand, I started to feel I missed the whole metal thingy with the heaviness and the roaring, so this was great.
I don't particularly care if it's not 'true metal' or something or that it got such a hype last year that it's typical mainstream muck, because it sounds good and the like, therefore it's a good album.

Every song stands out with awesomeness but I think the opening track; Clenching the Fists of Dissent is the lasting favourite, Halo, Slanderous, A Farewell to Arms and Now I Lay Thee Down are great as well, and I find myself also loving Beautiful Mourning, Wolves and the indomitable Aesthetics of Hate, so it really has no dull moments. 8 tracks that fit wonderfully in playlists and as an album, it most definately fills the hole in my CD collection that is new, good, Heavy yet Melodic metal.

The dvd is fun. But I'd be repeating everyone else if I went on about it. I will say that it was great to see some live footage of them playing, and to see the videos in HIGH QUALITY yay.

The bonus CD is well.. occasionally it sucks. Like the Halo and Aesthetics.. demos, mere shells. Weirdlly, I quite like the ice-T cover, it made me laugh to say the least, I need to get round to buying Machine Head's Nu Metal stage, looks great *tehe*

Oh and for a band that writes a (brilliant) song about their anti-religios veiws, they mention God an awful lot:
"May the hands of God strike them down"-Aesthetics of Hate
"God let the angels die"-Beautiful Mourning
"God save us"-A Farewell to Arms
"I hope you burn in hell"-Aesthetics of Hate
"I'm screaming to God"-Now I Lay Thee Down

and mabye more. Still, maybe I'm missing the big picture of their aims with this, I suppose he must hate William Grim so much he wishes Hell and God existed in his mind so they could strike him down. "God let the angels die" might well be a metaphor for something, and stuff like that. I can't really be bothered to look into it. In any case it's nice to listen to.

So yes, japanese I tell you, all the titles and info came up in japanese when I "ripped" the album and bonus CD onto the computer, the songs are all still in whatever language Flynn is roaring/shouting/whispering in, so no harm done I suppose.

In conclusion, this is some Nice melodic/carnargy music with much soloing and finely crafted songs. The guitars are well molded together and the bass has some shining moments too, the drums are very admirable, though I'm not a drummer myself. Lyrics are inspiring and at times really energising, top notch effort.

I DEMAND MORE. (in 2011, when their next album is said to be released, but earlier would be welcome)

"Clench your fists and.." doo do doo dodo
Fight Fight Fight Fight
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