Through The Ashes Of Empires was a more than excellent return to form for Robb Flynn and Co. Machine Head gained some momentum again and they also managed to let the creative juices flow freely once more. The culmination of their newly gained confidence came in the form Of The Blackening, arguably their most ambitious and pretentious album to date.
Or simply their best and most comprehensive album to this day if you ask me. At the time Robb Flynn listened a lot to Rush and King Crimson. This more progressive approach left its mark on The Blackening. The song material is way more multi-layered and the texture of the album is richer than ever before. Epic tracks like Clenching The Fist Of Dissent, Halo and A Farewell To Arms are clear symbols of this new approach.
The technical and fluid guitar style of Phil Demmel works perfectly in tandem with Robb Flynn’s rawer and hard core influenced style. This shows in the beautiful melody lines and guitar solos in songs like Beautiful Mourning, Slanderous and the aforementioned longer tracks. A special mention should go to Aesthetics Of Hate, which is the same level of Davidian and Ten Ton Hammer. It’s probably the most brutal song on this album.
The Blackening is also a well balanced album. The shorter and longer tracks complement each other very well. The diversity and the atmosphere give it an almost prog like grandeur. The powerful production, once again courtesy of Machine Head‘s own Robb Flynn and Colin Richardson, makes it an instant classic.
The Blackening is the most balanced, diverse and mature release by Machine Head to date. This one is even better than Burn My Eyes in my opinion. This is an instant classic, hands down.
Written by Raymond Westland