9 years old yesterday.
I was a first day buyer and I got the CD/DVD deluxe version.
7 original tracks and two covers for the deluxe, which had a kick ass version of “The Sentinel” from Judas Priest and “Witch Hunt” from Rush. In addition, there is an acoustic track of “Darkness Within”.
The DVD has a making of documentary which I watched once and I don’t really remember much of except for a debate they had about a song.
Coming into this the album, the thrash tour de force “The Blackening” came out in 2007 and the band went on a three year victory lap with it. That’s right, a three year tour.
And then they dropped this album.
“I Am Hell” kicks it off.
Its a 3 part classical movement, consisting of the main thrash part, the classical outro, and the Latin intro of which Robb recorded 24 separate voices to create it. The Latin words chanted are “Sagre Sani” = Blood saint”, and “Bellator Inferni” = “Hell warrior”.
And I wasn’t all in.
But the last two minutes when the acoustic kicks in for the classical outro had me loosening up to it.
Then the finger tapped intro to track 2 begins and I was really in.
“Be Still And Know” is one of my favourite Machine Head songs.
In this struggle / Are we dead or alive?
What’s the saying, “the standard you walk past is the standard you accept” or something like that.
And life is a struggle, there’s no doubt about that. But it’s all down to the standard we accept. The one that brings change is uncomfortable and the other is comfortable.
And there’s heartache / As we search to connect
We like to say that we know what we are doing but in reality we don’t. We are just working and living off our best guess. So we have heartache and we keep on connecting.
Because relationships are not easy. They need work and sometimes they need downtime.
There is love / Know that we are one / We are all in this together / Weather the storm
If I have my best day or my worst day, that feeling will pass. And in time I’ll forget it because it doesn’t matter. And I’ll experience other days of highs and lows and those feelings will be forgotten as well.
And the fast double kick drum in the solo harmony section is so fast it makes me wonder how all the modern drummers do it so easily.
Glaciers will melt and the oceans rise / Waves will come crashing ashore
Maybe global warming will not pass and we’ll need to deal with the fallout.
And the sun will rise
Dawn will break through the blackest night
Distant in its glow
This shall pass be still and know
And if this was the only good song on the album it was worth it.
But then “Locust” started.
Viewed by many critics at the time as a disappointing follow up to 2007’s “The Blackening”, “Locust” went on to become Machine Head’s #1 streamed song of the digital-era, racking up 25 million streams to date plus 11 million and counting YouTube views.
The clean tone dropped D (but in C#) arpeggio riff is now iconic. It’s a singalong riff in the live arena.
And the lyrical theme is different.
Behind an angel’s disguise, an insect preys
Mandibles cut like a knife, the reckoning
The Locust is an analogy for bad people in human relationships who come and rip you off, rob you off your affection and then leave you stripped and destroyed, the same way a swarm of locusts leave a crop stripped and destroyed.
And if these two tracks proved the best I was happy with the follow up.
But Robb Flynn had been practicing classical guitar and the classical intro to “This Is The End” starts. And I was all in over and over again.
When the harmony guitars come in, the 220bpm riff-a-thon begins.
But the centerpiece is “Darkness Within”. Just listen to it and you will know why. It’s a heavy hard rock song and the lead break from Phil Demmel is Randy Rhoads worthy, a song within a song moment.
Could this album get any better?
It does with the last two originals “Pearls Before The Swine” (think Metallica “Ride The Lightning” era) and “Who We Are” (think Judas Priest Classic album era).
And the cover songs.
Blistering and recorded live in the studio.
Happy 9th birthday.