Machine Head

Bloodstone & Diamonds

Machine HeadBloodstone & Diamonds
Turning 20 in metal years is a true milestone, and Machine Head have persevered on their own terms without losing their brutal, albeit mainstream, soul. Robb Flynn and co. return with their eighth full-length, Bloodstone & Diamonds, further defining the thrash roots and groove-metal mentality that the band established on their genre-defying debut, Burn My Eyes, and then rediscovered on 2007's The Blackening. Not only is this the first album not released on established label Roadrunner, but it's also the first without longtime bassist Adam Duce, who was fired last year and replaced by former Sanctity guitarist Jared MacEachern.

Prefaced by swirling strings, album opener "Now We Die" perfects the soft/loud dynamic that Flynn has been peddling over the past few albums: the almost-whispered brooding à la Deftones' Chino Moreno, followed by his trademark growl. The lyrics of ultra-melancholy "Sail into the Black" and "Damage Inside" limply lilt over his lips, while the ballad-like "Beneath the Silt" advances the gloom. The growling "In Comes the Flood" is an Ozzy-like melodic cut punctuated by a female chorus singing a verse of "America the Beautiful." The Megadeth-like guitar soloing continues on "Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones" and "Night of Long Knives," but the riveting "Eyes of the Dead" climaxes with the most vicious chordage on the album. Bloodstone & Diamonds successfully straddles the barbed-wire fence between modern fans of energy-drink festivals and the graying heads of the old school, multi-band shows. (Nuclear Blast)
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