Unto the Locust
MACHINE HEAD

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MACHINE HEAD - Unto the Locust cover
3.76 | 18 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 2011

Filed under Thrash Metal

Tracklist

1. I Am Hell (8:42)
2. Be Still And Know (6:13)
3. Locust (7:39)
4. This Is The End (7:04)
5. The Darkness Within (8:14)
6. Pearls For Swine (7:55)
7. Who We Are (9:18)

Total Time 55:04

Line-up/Musicians

- Robert "Robb" Flynn / Vocals & Guitars
- Phil Demmel / Guitars
- Adam Duce / Bass
- Dave McClain / Drums

About this release

Roadrunner Records, September 27th, 2011

I Am Hell (Sonata in C#) is made up of three songs:

1. Sangre Sani (Blood Saint)
2. I Am Hell
3. Ashes to the Sky

Thanks to UMUR for the addition

MACHINE HEAD MP3, Free Download/Stream

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MACHINE HEAD UNTO THE LOCUST reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Warthur
As with the preceding The Blackening, Machine Head's Unto the Locust is a competent collection of thrashy groove metal and groovy thrash metal which will probably please most listeners who are fond of their customary balls-to-the-wall everything-louder-than-everything-else no-subtlety approach. Personally, I find the way that the band play in high gear constantly with few to no breaks means that the songs sooner or later end up blending together a little, and the vocal delivery tends to grate. This is an album which will please Machine Head's fans, so they've at least done the minimum that can be expected of them, but if you had your doubts previously about the group Unto the Locust is not going to make you feel more positively about them.
UMUR
"Unto the Locust" is the 7th full-length studio album by US thrash metal/alternative metal act Machine Head. The album was released in September 2011 by Roadrunner Records.

Machine Head have been on quite the rollercoaster ride since the release of their debut full-length studio album "Burn My Eyes (1994)", which received almost universal praise for it´s mix of thrash, groove metal and hardcore attitude. They put themselves firmly on the metal map with that release. The next couple of albums took the band´s music in a more alternative metal direction and were met with mixed reactions by fanbase and critics alike. Machine Head never lost momentum though and have remained commercially successful throughout the years. "Through the Ashes of Empires (2003)" took the music back to a more thrash/groove metal based sound which was further emphasised by the inclusion of lead vocalist/guitarist Robert "Robb" Flynn´s former Vio-lence bandmate Phil Demmel (lead guitars). Machine Head´s more thrashy direction was on full display on "The Blackening (2007)", where the band also challenged themselves with longer progressive song structures.

..."Unto the Locust" is yet another shift in sound even though the music sounds unmistakably like Machine Head. The basis in the music is groove based and heavy thrashy riffing, faster thrashy riffing, quite a few guitar harmonies and even some semi-neoclassical themes. The vocals by Robert "Robb" Flynn are raw and aggressive but with a melodic sensibility. His performance on this album is actually among his most varied and strongest IMO. Even his clean singing which hasn´t always been too successful to my ears, have improved greatly and is actually quite enjoyable when it appears on this album. The epic and actually quite beautiful "The Darkness Within" is the perfect example of that. Some fo the clean sung choruses remind me in style of the sound of artists like Trivium and Killswitch Engage, so while there are certainly a healthy dose of thrashy riffs to keep the more "old school" listener entertained, Machine Head are not content with sounding like a retro eighties thrash metal act. The style is efficiently eclectic.

While the tracks feature easily recognisable vers/chorus strucutures, all tracks feature multible sections and semi-progressive ideas. This is anything but formulaic. All 7 tracks on the 55:04 minutes long album exceed the 6 minute mark and Machine Head understand how to entertain their listeners with powerful memorable riffs and little details such as a children choir in "Who We Are" or Robert "Robb" Flynn singing a capella in the opening minutes of "I Am Hell".

The production is warm, fat and powerful. With a sound like this you can´t go wrong.

"Unto the Locust" is to my ears one of the top album releases of 2011. You´ll have to look hard for a more well composed, well performed and well produced album. "Unto the Locust" simply reeks class and a 4 - 4.5 star rating is fully deserved.
Kingcrimsonprog
Machine Head’s highly anticipated Unto The Locust has the unenviable task of having to follow up 2007’s excellent zeitgeist grabbing The Blackening album which received stellar reviews at the time, was one of the best records in their career and has already since become regarded as something of a classic album, something that will only continue to grow as time passes.

If Unto The Locust receives a lot of negative criticism, it is only because it failed to live up to the unexpected mythic status set by The Blackening, much in the same way that The More Things Change was in Burn My Eye’s shadow.

Judged on musical merit, Unto The Locust is a very strong album indeed somehow managing to be both instantly loveable and yet also a grower. Everything on the record is tight and perfectly formed, not a second of the album is wasted… impressive considering how long, dense and complex the record is.

The album officially clocks in at seven tracks, only one of which dips below the six minute mark and the album ends up lasting almost 49 minutes overall.

If you want more long songs, more high speeds and more guitar solos and dual guitar harmonies then Unto The Locust ably provides, tracks like ‘Be Still And Know,’ and ‘I Am Hell,’ are absolutely full of impressive guitar moments from Rob Flynn and Phil Demmel (and of course not forgetting the usual incredible drum fills from Dave McClaine)

It seems pointless listing highlights on an album that only has seven tracks, all of which are great but special mentions should be made for ‘This Is The End,’ is a brilliant mix of crushing heaviness, big grooves a little melody now and again, has a lot of ideas in its time span as well as featuring one of the best (brief but perfectly formed) guitar solos in the band’s career.

On top of the superb songwriting and performances, the production is absolutely fantastic on the record and really captures the Machine Head sound perfectly. A version of near-title-track ‘Locust,’ was available for a while before the album’s release with a different production style, but the actual version on here is much deeper, more energetic sounding and with a different feel on a few of the leads; now the track actually feels a bit more like the band’s first two records than it ever did one the advanced mix version.

In summary; Unto The Locust is a very good album indeed, and gets better with repeat listens. Machine Head are absolutely on form in terms of songwriting and musicianship and do their best to mix adding new ideas and retaining what made their last two albums so good, the only thing that might stand in the way of this record meeting universal praise is simply the fact that The Blackening already did that.

Members reviews

RuneWalsh2112
I picked up this album pretty recently in order to prepare myself for a Machine Head gig that I was about to witness. It's been quite a few years since I've actively listened to this band. Last time I saw them live was back during their "Through The Ashes Of Empires" tour where Machine Head was praised by both fans and critics for returning to their classic Thrash Metal roots after two albums fling with Nu Metal (on "The Burning Red" and "Supercharger").

Just as my previous Machine Head concert experience, this one was an enjoyable one even if I don't consider myself much of a Machine Head fan to begin with. Their music never hits me on a personal level. Instead, it's enjoyable and well calculated music that does it's job well but without any real passion to it. The only two albums that came close to changing my mind were "Through The Ashes Of Empires" and "The Blackening", so does it mean that "Unto The Locust" would be the 'it' album for me (since it's the next album in line)?

The album opens with an a cappella intro of "I Am Hell (Sonata In C#)" titled "Sangre Sani" followed by two more sections of the composition titled "I Am Hell" and the final 6 minute section "Ashes To The Sky", which is both the most melodic and Thrash Metal inclined one. The vocal melodies that Robb Flynn is aiming on all these tracks have a modern melodic style to it which unfortunately reminds me of all the Roadrunner singles of the recent years and thus not anything worthy of an artistic merit. Luckily the melodies aren't the only thing that "Unto The Locust" has going for it as the excellent sound of guitars and drums convey their messages quite nicely, especially during the instrumental passages.

After the first three tracks, which are all pretty memorable and will create the first impression highlights for any listener, we come to the album's 'make it or break it'-section. "This Is The End" immediately manages to rub me the wrong way with it's really irritating chorus line which unfortunately ruins even the track's midsection groove and the concluding solo for me. Fortunately "The Darkness Within" and especially "Pearls For Swine" return this album back it's momentum as we're treated to some of the band's most artistic compositions. This is why it feels even more irritating for me to hear a track like "Who We Are" right at the end. There's really no point of featuring such a ridiculous chorus line on otherwise pretty strong track and thus ruining the overall impression that I have of this release.

"Unto The Locust" is really not the direction that I was expecting Machine Head to undertake after "Through The Ashes Of Empires" and "The Blackening". This is by no means a return to their Nu Metal-era but the Thrash Metal featured on this release just seems very commercialized and dishonest to my ears, which is probably why I don't consider any of these seven compositions to be an overall highlight. The album fits my good, but non-essential labeling quite well.

**** star songs: I Am Hell (Sonata In C#) (8:28) Be Still And Know (5:44) Locust (7:36) The Darkness Within (6:28) Pearls For Swine (7:19)

*** star songs: This Is The End (6:11) Who We Are (7:07)

Ratings only

  • Zombieman998
  • Immortalis
  • 666MetalFrank
  • sauromat
  • Gallifrey
  • Daniel de Oliveira
  • DefinitionOfHatred
  • jorgelog94
  • Zargus
  • Wilytank
  • NorseGangsta
  • progpostman
  • 666sharon666
  • earthworm

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