Why The Blackening is Machine Head’s greatest artistic statement

Metal Hammer

After their spectacular return to popular and critical acclaim on Through The Ashes Of Empires, and particularly after the four-year wait that followed, album number six for Machine Head came with a certain weight of expectation. Yet even the most devout fan would have struggled to predict the staggering achievement the subsequent magnum opus delivered or, for that matter, everything that followed it.

The arrival of The Blackening on March 26, 2007 came as the heavy metal seas shifted. Metalcore had shown itself to be past its creative zenith, the inspired giving way to the formulaic, and the continued rise of the likes of Opeth and Mastodon hinted at an increasing desire among the metal public for albums capable of breaking the familiar conventions. Machine Head’s implacable creativity may have marked them out as an ensemble able to stand out from the crowd, but the manner in which the mould was kicked to fucking pieces with their newest album left jaws so firmly dropped, car jacks needed to be employed to return them to their functional positions.


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