In the past few years, a fair number of metal bands have been incorporating nu metal into their music, though the results have been mixed. Some have incorporated the groove aspects and found great success meshing genres, while others have leaned towards the cringe-worthy rapping and edgy lyricism that made the genre laughable. California thrash veterans Machine Head's latest record, Catharsis, is the latter.
Most fans consider Machine Head's venture into nu metal in the late '90s and early 2000s to be their worst material, making the decision to revisit this era highly confusing. Catharsis begins with thrash-leaning songs that could have fit in with any of their progressive-groove metal albums, but from this point forward, the album becomes an embarrassing nostalgia act. Songs like "California Bleeding," "Triple Beam" or "Psychotic" would be nothing more than forgettable, by-the-books nu metal tracks if it weren't for the horribly childish lyrics and awkward vocal delivery.
While ballads aren't outside of the range of Machine Head's capabilities, "Bastards" sees them performing a folk-tinged song that ends with a Dropkick Murphy's-styled passage that should have never left the recording studio. The song is made even worse by laughable chanting, as well as well-meaning but poorly worded lyrics about taking power away from racists.
Another problem is excessive length — the record features 15 songs across 75 minutes and constantly leaves the listener wondering when it will finally end. Outro track "Eulogy" is a six-minute adventure through absolutely nothing and hardly even feels like a song, while others like "Screaming At the Sun" or "Psychotic" aren't much more than nu metal filler.
While there are a small handful of decent songs and riffs on Catharsis, the vast majority is either hilariously edgy nostalgia or simply forgettable. The band made it clear leading up to Catharsis that the record would be diverse in style, but unlike the diversity found on Machine Head's past few records, this is a disaster. (Nuclear Blast)