12/11/2003

1. Imperium
2. Bite The Bullet
3. Left Unfinished
4. Elegy
5. In The Presence Of My Enemies
6. Days Turn Blue To Gray
7. Vim
8. All Fall Down
9. Wipe The Tears
10. Descend The Shades Of Night
 
Robb Flynn- Vocals/guitar
Adam Duce- Backing Vocals/Bass
Phil Demmel- Lead Guitar
Dave McClain- Drums
 

MACHINE HEAD: "Through the Ashes of Empires"     www.machinehead1.com   Roadrunner Records

review     by Matthew "Matt" Haumschild___


I'm going to start this off saying that it was a very nice surprise hear this CD.
After "Supercharger" I did not know quite what to expect. Robb Flynn (singer/guitar player) kept mentioning how this album was going to be heavy again since he 'resurrected' his Peavey 5150 Amplifier from his equipment archives. It was the same head (same as amplifier) he used on "The More
Things Change". Again, I was skeptical.

When I received this CD  I pretty much was on my way out to my car to run errands so I brought the disc with me. Popped in the disc and after the intro of their first track I was immediately I was blown away.
Just with the words "GRAB ME NOW!!"

Imperium: (first track)
As mentioned above, it has kind of a lengthy intro, but once Robb screams those words above, the guitars kick in, and kick your ass. Just in the pre-verse of that song has more heaviness than all of "Supercharger". In the
pre-chorus MH goes melodic, almost nu-metal melodic, then snaps back to harder parts of the song. They do this three or four times during the song. Towards the end of the track however they go into a completely different part which doesn't sound anything like the previous choruses or verses then after a minute of doing that, they go back into the base riffs of the song. This was extremly odd to me and it was very odd arrangement by the band but it was cool none the less.

At this point, I knew this was going to be a great CD. The drumsounded perfect. The guitars sounded heavier 'than a mutha fucka', the vocals sounded brutal yet clear as day. The bass has sounded better. This to
me was the only problem with the mix. Usually Adam Duce's bass sound on the record sounds chunkier and much more distorted. This isn't the case this time. Not only that, it wasn't up in the mix. Other than that, the CD has excellent sound quality and production.

Left Unfinished:
This track has a music box playing at it's intro. I like where the song leads after the intro. I can see myself moshing to this song.  It's also a great song to sing along to live and in the car. This track also features
some of Robb Flynn's better melodic vocal arrangements. The lyrics are actually quite good. In Music lately, you don't see songs with great lyrics, this one however has some creative lyrics and is brilliantly sung.

Days Turn Blue To Gray:
The lyrics in this song represent what Robb Flynn might have been feeling in his childhood growing up and what it had became when he got to be a teenager and is basically writing about it in this song. It is soulfully sung song with out having to sing so clear. Not to mention the rest of the song is heavy as hell. It's not terribly fast paced song, moderate at best. I really liked this track, you could hear the feeling in Flynn's voice when he sings this one.

All Falls Down:
If you can look past the unnecessarally long and annoying intro, this is actually a bad ass song.
This song, of all else, is filled with classic Machine Head harmonics which have been lacking in the last few albums. The chorus again, sung in complete brilliance. What else can I say?

My final analysis of this cd is that, despite some of the songs having very bad intros, which is the norm of Machine head no matter which album, this is the best CD of original material that they had recorded for a long time. It's hard to tell which is the better disc, "The Burning Red" or this one. There isn't a bad song on this album. I guess the only other complaint I have is that besides the first song, there really isn't a song that really stands out. What I mean is that, there isn't a song where every time you put in a CD into your car stereo, that one track, is the first you listen to and can listen to over and over again.

The entire album is heavy as hell. Balls to the wall Machine Head that we thought was gone. The mixing on this recording was great and so was the producing. Thank you Colin Richardson! If Machine Head keeps this up, they could re-claim the throne of which they have lost to bands like Inflames, Soilwork ect.
Go get this CD it is worth every penny!

 

rating:  9/10 

 

Matthew  Haumschild 

review Hellalive

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