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What a Ten Ton Hammer would sound like... - 80%

sealedinblood, April 13th, 2009

After their 1994 debut, Burn My Eyes, Machine Head had to prove to the metal world that they could live up to their previous achievement of a monumental record, and I, along with many other Machine Head fans, believe that they did just that.

The most noticeable difference between The More Things Change… and Burn My Eyes, is the tempo. While Burn My Eyes had its share of heavy songs, it also had a number of faster, aggressive songs. It seems as though on this album, Machine Head just wants to slam you with their Ten Ton Hammer and kick as much ass as they can. They do this by using slow, crunchy, heavy as hell riffs. Machine Head took groove metal to a new level with this album. Every song on the album is heavy as can be, but also features aspects of groove metal. Even Robb Flynn’s voice is crunchier and deeper than it had been on Burn My Eyes, but he also uses his clean singing voice more than before.

This album is also the first with Machine Head’s current drummer, Dave McClain. He had a lot to live up to after the performance on Burn My Eyes by Chris Kontos, but in my opinion he is a better drummer. The drums on the album compliment the heavy riffing very well, with tom grooves, double bass, and intricate fills.

The record starts off with “Ten Ton Hammer”, a mid paced song with very groove like verses and heavy choruses. Next is “Take My Scars”, with slamming guitars and drums, it is quite possibly one of the heaviest groove metal songs every recorded. Then comes the fastest song on the album, and my personal favorite “Struck a Nerve”. I can’t listen to this song without turning the volume up and wishing I was in a moshpit. All three of these songs are Machine Head classics today, and are frequently played at live shows.

Next comes “Down to None”, which starts with an eerie guitar riff that transforms into a bone-crushing riff. The song is then kicked up by a tom-filled groove beat on the drums and vocals, then switches back and forth between quick and slow for the rest of the song. This song is followed by “The Frontlines” and “Spine”, which are both very groovy, heavy tracks.

Then Machine Head takes a break from the slow and heavy with “Bay of Pigs”, which is similar to “Struck a Nerve” in a way. “Bay of Pigs” has very fast intense verses and is then slowed down for the chorus. Next is “Violate”, probably the slowest and most emotional song on the album, which has a guitar crunch and tom groove the whole song, with Flynn’s clean vocals laying on top. “Blistering” then brings back the energy, with heavy choruses and odd time signatured verses. The album closes with “Blood of the Zodiac”, another slow, crunchy song.

Although in my opinion this is not the best Machine Head album, it is probably more different than anything else they’ve done. They took groove metal to a new level with this album, but somehow abandoned the sound they had created with their next album, and since then, no one else has ever made an album that is comparable in sound to 1997’s The More Things Change… by Machine Head.