Reviewing new albums from consistently awesome bands like Machine Head is an interesting experience. Chances are, it’s not going to be a bad album, so you have to wonder what you could possibly say about it. Luckily, Machine Head, as consistent as they have been, have also been able to always give us a little something new to chew on every once in a while. So now, let’s take a belated look at their newest release, Bloodstone & Diamonds.
By now, you’ve probably heard the fantastic opening track, “Now We Die.” It opens up with a string ensemble leading into the songs main and definitely heavy riffs. The strings obviously add a little bit of epicness to the picture, and even make appearances throughout the rest of the album as well. Right when the main riff hits, you just know you’re listening to a Machine Head song. Everything from Rob Flynn’s voice, guitar tone, and even production quality just screams Machine Head, regardless if you knew who it was ahead of time. Just like any good opener should, it provides the perfect overture for the rest of the album. Bloodstone & Diamonds is simultaneously heavy, melodic, and anything but boring.
"Now We Die" Official Video
Machine Head’s tough to define style doesn’t get any easier to pinpoint on this album. “Beneath The Silt”, for example, is one extremely groovy track. There probably isn’t another song on the entire album that’s going to get you to bang your head any harder than this track does. But there are still some of the fast-paced, more thrashy style riffs on tracks that appear earlier on the album, like “Killers and Kings.” Most choruses in the songs are all very catchy, like in “Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones”, and some songs are heavy and catchy simultaneously, like “In Comes The Flood.” It’s all in this sort of grey area of genres, and that’s pretty much exactly what we want from a new Machine Head album.
There is also an air of experimentation on Bloodstone & Diamonds. Some songs on the album aren’t very metal at all, and are instead these very ethereal and melancholy pieces of music. “Sail Into The Black” begins with a droning men’s chorus, and builds very sparsely into this atmospheric and dark trip until the band finally comes in about halfway through, just to remind you that you are still listening to Machine Head. “Damage Inside” follows a similar sort of feel, although doesn’t develop as much as “Sail Into The Black” does. These songs aren’t completely out of left field for the band, and do a great job of breaking up the monotony of the album, and giving us something different to process, as well as showing off their music prowess in other ways.
Overall, Bloodstone & Diamonds is yet another solid album in Machine Head’s already glowing legacy. There’s not too much else to say other than that. I wouldn’t exactly go so far to say that this is the best Machine Head release to date, or even in a long while, but don’t let that diminish the high points of this album for you. If you were expecting anything less than quality from Machine Head, then perhaps Bloodstone & Diamonds needs to be your reminder on the power of this band, and the reason behind their acclaim.
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