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I have listened to Machine Head in the past and never caught onto why there are so many people who fellate them. Not necessarily on the Metal-Archives, as anyone can see their albums are not rated very highly, but what I am talking about is your average discreet metal listener who says they listen to all types of music but in reality all they listen to is things on the radio. Since Machine Head seemed to have been formulating the nu-metal sound from their very beginning I can see why they do get a lot of praise.
One problem that is bothering me though is the heavy similarity to Pantera. Now I am one who loves Pantera, as one of my first metal bands I really listened to there is nothing better than hearing 5 Minutes Alone blasting out of my speakers. This may turn a lot of “pure” metalheads away from this review, but seeing since if you don’t like Pantera at all you are an idiot I don’t care about you. The main reason why it is bothering me so much is because even though it does sound like Pantera, it is a really really bad Pantera. As a matter of fact this album sounds pretty close to the likes of Damageplan, and we all know Damageplan isn’t very good. So with the boring ripped of sound of Pantera and the beginnings of nu-metal you add the vocals from Flynn that have absolutely no power to them. If you have ever heard Zakk Wylde sing I think you may know what I am talking about, cool sounding voice, bad nasally sound, no effort, bad lyrics, ridiculously repeating parts of songs over and over and you get any son on this album.
It’s not that the songs on the album are ridiculously bad or anything, it is just that they are so boring that they could not be improved without scratching the whole thing and starting over. The simple minded discreet metalheads are the ones who listen to this music, they don’t listen to anything more extreme such as Suffocation or Obituary at the time, and they probably listen to a lot of Slipknot, Mudvayne, Fear Factory, and Pantera. As much as I dislike putting Fear factory and Pantera on that list it is true, the fans of later day Fear Factory and Pantera listen to nu-metal. Now being a former fan of Slipknot and Mudvayne and growing up in the time when these bands really prospered, the real nu-metallers were surely the type of people who made this band survive. Well that and they were on RoadRunner. They were the record label responsible for signing many nu-metal acts; this means that if bands like this had not been on a record label that was a major label this music may have died a long time ago because it is not good.
While Flynn is doing his best half ass attempt Phil Anselmo impression and his half ass attempt at creating a groove/thrash album he does seem to have redeeming qualities in guitar playing. These redeeming qualities are the solos, yet still half assed like the rest of the music they are still enjoyable. It seemed more than going after a groove/thrash album; Flynn was going after a tough guy album. With all the mellow parts it seems as if he was still confused on what he wanted to do. Overall in a tough guy album there usually aren’t a lot of things that stand out, except when you get to the breakdowns. Hence the problem with the current deathcore scene, but that is a completely different problem.
I guess around this time though bands were going for the tough guy sound, this was about the time when the first KoЯn album came out, Sepultura’s Chaos A.D., Exhorder and Pantera were popular. With the popularity of this music on the rise more thrash bands jumped on the groove metal bandwagon causing fans to like it more because seasoned veterans were joining the mix of completely uninspired unoriginal music. But just to think at the turn of the decade four of my favorite albums ever were released; Rust in Fucking Peace, Cause of Fucking Death, Seasons in the Fucking Abyss, and Fucking Painkiller. Now what caused such a turn around? Money. This music is more appealing to the average younger radio listener, hence why I liked this stuff when I was 13-16. I didn’t have a lot of access to the internet until about the age of 16 when I started to discover how good music could actually get. Now as we can all see today what is tolerable on the radio is still the more popular and more profitable music. Slipknot is headlining tours and has been on tours with Machine Head. So this brings me to what the music really is.
The music is simply a thrash album that cannot hold up its britches. In other words a thrash album where the musicians are just too fucking lazy to think of anything creative to write. Not even a large amount of solos or creative solos at that. I know I said that may be the only redeeming part of the album and that is because it is simply the only parts that do not make me want to fall asleep. The songs are all drawn on too long, I guess it makes it easier for the radio listener to pay attention and follow along. The breakdowns allowed the tough guys to tighten their bandanas and rip their wife beaters in the mosh pits to make themselves feel even tougher while jumping around like little monkeys. Listening to an album like this again makes me happy I never went a Machine Head or Slipknot concert because of the style of people that are there. Once again this is the problem with deathcore. Just like in deathcore Machine Head has implemented the use of breakdowns…just for the sake of having fucking breakdowns. Absolutely no point to them, as if things were not slow efuckingnough in the first place we have to slow it down more because this allows the listener to catch their breath from all the “intensity” from the breakdown before it.
As I have already said I do enjoy Pantera and other groove metal acts, but the same with any genre if you do not utilize your skills or the aspects of the genre nothing will be good or redeeming. I am proud of myself thus far by not mention Flynn trying to make the music “epic.” But I just have to mention it because I get the feeling that is what Flynn was going for in using an echo effect on his vocals when the music begins to slow down entering or ending a breakdown.
This album is not receiving such a low score because of the style of music, but because of the doors it opened for nu-metal acts like I mentioned before to feel like they are tough and can make music to appeal to people and make money at the same time. Had an album not opened the doors for such a horrible form of music to grow and formulate in front of every real metal bands eyes this album would get a higher score; even though I say this the album may only have gotten about a 23, but still. The biggest problem still seems to be though with this album, well with the band and musicians in general is that it could have a chance at being something special; but with the thoughts preying on teens who could not keep their slimy hands off of this music they stuck with a style that would get them money not praise. Basically stay away from this album; I gave in to someone to listen to it intently who said it was a classic and very good. I knew it wasn’t a classic and didn’t have a significant piece in the great history of metal like he told me as well; in reality it is the complete opposite.