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The nineties were absolutely the period of downfall for one of the purest forms of metal that ever existed on Earth: thrash metal. The end of the 80s provided us several epic milestones in a genre that was already changing: the sheer brutality of the first wave of this genre was filtered through the acquired technique in long years of experiences and music, trying to be more mature, less obsessive and, simply, in another direction. The first years of the 90s were not bad for this genre, but the death metal was becoming more famous and well-known, while some half-thrash metal albums began to rise even among the bands you didn’t expect.
On the other hand, we had completely new realities trying to jump on this train and leave a mark, a sign of their presence. One of these was Machine Head. For Rob Flynn was easy to start something new after the good job he did with Vio-lence band and find new guys to follow him on this new adventure. The genre has changed. The influences come from several sides and what Pantera already did in this genre it’s impossible to delete from their minds. By the way, this new form of “metal” has a completely new approach. Some riffs have survived from the breakdown of the new decade but the new influences are preponderant and they are called “rap” and “hardcore”.
Ok, already from the opener “Davidian”, we can listen to an unsmooth, stop-start technique on the guitars; grooving and massive-like, tired Godzilla riffs; effects on the guitars and the really bland, annoying voice of Rob. His style takes everything from the hardcore in terms of screams and rap if we are talking about the timbre and the cadence of the voice. If you expect something fast, here everything is re-written under another kind of sense and the only speed you can find is for some parts and mostly referred to the drums. The rest is like a mid-paced progression with groove parts and shitty vocals with even too clean parts like in the chorus to “Old”. “A Thousand Lies” has a dark arpeggio while the metallic, hyper high in volumes guitars and the recurring stop-and-go technique on the guitars that sounds unflowing and horrible.
The vocals are not angry at all, they are weak, derivative and naff. The songs are way too long and it is so boring that it brings me into the arms of Morpheus. There’s nothing to be happy about. In “None but my Own” they tried to be dark but they failed once again and the guitars are just annoying with those horrible whistles and sudden doom tempo parts. The guitars are low tuned, powerful but extremely simple on their “riffs” and the aggression lacks completely. “The Rage to Overcome” is repetitive, martial, without a soul and utterly irritating. “Death Church” displays more than one eye to Korn, like in the rest of the album too. Wow, this is the crap in form of music.
Once again “A Nation on Fire” shows dark, long and boring arpeggios and bass parts by the beginning with soft, mallcore vocals to restart like the other song. The structure is always the same and it’s not good, absolutely: the groove by the guitars, the profound, rap style voice of Rob and the same pile of shit. It’s all there and all smells like a dead rat. Even in a “more violent” and direct song like “Blood for Blood” the effects are overused and too heavy. “One, two, three, four, go!!” vocal part is simply stupid while even the up tempo parts are full of groove. We scratch the bottom with “Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies” and its burden of filtrated, artificial vocals and the innocent dark atmospheres.
All the songs on this album are identical and someone is still able to criticise the death metal or the violent thrash for this fault. Just listen to this and make your mind once for all, this album is going to help you. There’s no violence, no aggression, the old style has gone forever and now is stone cold in the modern, crappy riffs by this basically useless and even damaging band. This is one of the milestones to understand why and how the genre changed so heavily and drastically in those years.