Machine Head
Of Kingdom and Crown

“Don’t knock it until you try it.” I start off with this because my original intro to this review was… unkind. After Catharsis, which I didn’t hate as much as seemingly everyone else (I used my words carefully and honestly there), I was prepared for this to be a shit sandwich. In my original intro, I likened it to eating an ass, knowing the potential consequences, and still getting shit down your throat. However, I digress because something unexpected happened. This album grew on me.

So, allow me to explain. There are certainly choices with which I do not agree on this album, but I didn’t write it. However, if you don’t like Robb, and think his other work is pretentious, you’ll find several reasons to support your opinion here. However, I’ve never disliked the guy and love some of his output. He’s polarizing, therefore making his band as such, and that will likely continue.

Let’s finally talk about the music. The opener isn’t bad. The intro and build is slow before “Slaughter the Martyr” gets moving. It’s standard Machine Head in several ways. There’s a decent vocal hook in the chorus, heavy riffing, and outstanding lead guitar work with a couple of minutes left. However, it begins slowly, ends slowly, and is slightly over 10 minutes.

The next one, “Choke on the Ashes of Your Hate,” balances out the length of the first by being about 1/3 as long. This could be described as a bit of a throwback to the thrashy side of the band, with some death metal bellows, and an excellent solo section. It’s not bad but shows a problem.

That problem has nothing to do with the music itself, but when one looks at the album title, as well as the song titles and sees the appearance of the letter “o,” you’ll probably notice it like I did and sigh.

On that note, if you thought you might get away from Robb’s clear liberal politics (which doesn’t bother me since I also lean hard left), “Kill Thy Enemies,” proves that you will not. After listening, I’m not sure how to take the chorus, but the lyrics throughout make it clear he’s speaking about a certain cult in the United States. Other than that, the clean vocals are excellent in the bridge, and of course the guitar leads are excellent. Despite mixed messaging, this is one of my favorite tracks on the album.

“Rotten,” however… is… fucking… not.

I bet you’re thinking; “Wow, I didn’t expect a positive review.” Neither did I. I said it was “not good” to our teethofthedivine staff group chat, and I feel like I need to eat some crow because this is good. In fact, it’s the best album from the band since Unto the Locust. It’s full of dynamics, heavy riffing, and great hooks. The album’s pacing is also terrific, considering it’s 13 tracks in an hour. What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. It’s probably not going to change your mind about Machine Head or Robb, no matter on which side of the fence you stand, but if you have ever liked them in the past, I’m willing to bet you’ll enjoy this as I have.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
August 29th, 2022


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