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Machine Head | Through the Ashes of Empires | review | metal | Lollipop

Machine Head

Through the Ashes of Empires (Roadrunner)
by Eric Chon

I had written these guys off after Supercharger. Hell, The More Things Change... was the beginning of their decline (although I did dig it for quite some time). After a blistering and staggering first album, Machine Head seemed to have burned out quickly after burning so bright. What a shame.

After reading more and more about their troubles with labels and their much-maligned live album, they really ceased to be important to me anymore. Besides, I had bands like Mastodon and Chimaira to think about. The true American-metal movement was already underway - had been for some time - and I had my comeback story already (that'd be Anthrax, for the uninformed).

But, you know, I'm a sucker for the underdog, and I sampled the latest from Machine Head, ready to hate. My ears, then, proceeded to get their asses kicked and this hard heart began to know love. Well, perhaps not quite so severe, but TTAOE spoke to me, and like an innocent boy, I listened.

Machine Head is back and they're ready to stomp on your face. It's fantastic on so many levels: The ever-changing riffs, the melodic solos, the heavy-as-hell, frantic drumming. It's a true return to thrash with some of the heavier stuff thrown in. What is this, the year of thrash? Jeez, if only Slayer could get their act together (and now I bet Kerry King feels like an ass for disparaging these guys) - ha, not happening.

It's the reemergance of thrash! Four of thrash's major players have released quality albums to remind us, the metal fans, that melody and big, stomping break can live in harmony (no pun intended). That singing can be just as powerful as screaming. That riffs and solos have a place alongside chugging power chords in American metal. Anthrax, Overkill, Exodus, and Machine Head have shown us the light. Even Metallica tried to get back in the game (they get a "B" for effort). And with Testament recording and Megadeth rereleases coming up, it's going to be one hell of a year.


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