By Jake Rivett
The album is off to such a strange start, but after the chanting ends an absolute crushing song begins, 8:26 minutes of pure, raw power and fury flows out of the speakers, a rhythmic storm rising; the tune is speedy, yet not repetitive. Is this the album that Machine Head fans have been waiting for since the faultless Blackening in 2007?
The chorus comes in and then disappears quickly. The backing vocals seem almost death metal in style and the acoustic music towards the end is a beautiful touch but nonetheless, this is a track that may take a while to get used to.
Be Still and Know is a decent song, plenty of shouting and screaming but in a very controlled manner, giving a feel of harmony and the dual solo is nothing short of awesome. The riffs feel chunky although nothing seems capable of a hum just yet. Locust has a nice intro, complete with solo followed by drums before getting into an amazing hook. Flynn’s vocals almost go into a death growl here. Locust is also the first track to feature his incredible singing voice, and we also get thrown into breakdowns galore, angry shouts and more although the song feels a little long overall.
This Is The End seems to have a problem. The album as a whole has so many ideas thrown together, they don’t stay the same; they get to a certain mark in the song and shoot off to a different point. One minute it’s rock, then thrash, death vocals layered with breakdown, harmonized Choir-boy singing, all in 8 minutes on I Am Hell (Sonata in C#). It just doesn’t sit right.
Darkness Within comes in acoustic, casually vocals sounding like something from before The Ashes of Empires; simplistic rhyming lyrics. It makes a really nice change, this is certainly the centerpiece of the album, you wouldn’t believe you where listening to the same song at 4:20 with a really catchy part kicking in but barely lasting 30 seconds.
The album is a lot to get to grips with structure wise and the song length doesn’t help. Although the more it is heard, the more it impresses, but upon first listen, it sounds messy, with the rest of the album continuing this way.