Machine Head - Through The Ashes Of Empires
Roadrunner Records
Modern Thrash Metal
10 songs (53.48)
Release year: 2003
Machine Head, Roadrunner Records
Reviewed by Aleksie
Album of the month
Now this one might baffle the European fans. An Album Of The Month for an album released in last October, over a half a year ago? Well, yeah, here in Europe. In the States, TTAOE is due for a release in mid-April, this spring. And that’s why I urge all of you Yanks out there with that award, to be ready, for this album is one of the greatest returns to form of all time.

Machine Head released one of the greatest debuts of all time, Burn My Eyes back in 1994. After that, they hit a wall and just couldn’t produce another album even equally as good. The previous album, Supercharger, is weak in Machine Head standards to me. But from the first distorted riff of Imperium, it is clear that the Head is back with one hell of a vengeance.

Imperium proudly carries on the tradition of the “kick-in-the-nuts”-opening track set by the live standard Davidian on the debut. Furious riffs, even bringing back shades of Vio-Lence, the suberb thrash unit of MHs frontman-guitarist Rob Flynn and lead guitarist Phil Demmel. Flynn has also gathered more rage and conviction to his vocals than in ages. The lyrics are pretty standard “Face-the-adversity-and-crush-it”-stuff, in the vein of Machine Heads past and their greatest contemporaries, Pantera. But it takes a great vocalist to spew that kind of, dare I say, “clichéd” anger out with the power that Flynn has on this album. Demmel throws out some awesome solos on the album, while maintaining an impeccable sense of taste, not overplaying the technicality and keeping the melody and playing for the song as priorities. Dave McClain shoots out one HELL of a drum artillery on this record, with punishing double-basses, tight grooves and air-proof beats with bassist Duce. Id say that this album is a worth-while buy just to hear McClains playing here. No, its not all hyper-blasting and on-the-brink-of-exhaustion. Its technical drumming with such feel and taste that you can just smell the BBQ sauce. I would say that the band is at its finest form since their debut. And so is the music.

Groove-powered “moshterpieces” like Bite The Bullet, Elegy, Vim and All Falls Down all contain a bit of angst that might turn away the most “true” ignoramuses, but give this a shot, I heed you all, and you will see that Machine Head shits and pisses on every single one of the Mudvaynes and Mushroomheads out there. These guys pound away aggression with their mix of thrash and modern grooves like almost no other since the demise of Pantera can, in my mind. With crushing, melodic, catchy riffs on all of the songs and great vocals and rhythm sections to boot, I say that shame on you all who dismiss this record only on grounds that their other recent albums haven’t been that great. Which they haven’t, compared to this new monster. In The Presence Of My Enemies and Descend The Shades Of Night are a bit longer but equally great tracks that show the Heads more matured song-writing skills to the max. The former grows up to one hell of a riff-monster with an ungodly tempo, while the latter is a great example of a mid-pace grinder. This band possesses the one ability that very few have. Groove, the twisting power that makes you MOSH with precision, not just randomly nod your head back and forth. Pantera is unbeatable at the groove-game, but MH comes very close. The clear, juggernaught-sized production gives everything the final ability to deliver devastating blows on any scale.

All you metalnuts out there who until now have dismissed Machine Head as just another “moderncoreshitcrap”, this is the turning point of your perception. Give Through The Ashes Of Empires the chance it deserves, and be run down by a sonic bulldozer. All of you who like them already, this is their best record since Burn My Eyes. I don’t need to say anything else.

Killing Songs :
I like em All, But Ill say Imperium, Bite The Bullet, Elegy, In the Presence Of My Enemies, Vim, All Falls Down, Days Turn Pale To Grey & Descend The Shades Of Night
Aleksie quoted 92 / 100
Danny quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Machine Head that we have reviewed:
Machine Head - Unto The Locust reviewed by Goat and quoted 81 / 100
Machine Head - The Blackening reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 97 / 100
Machine Head - The More Things Change reviewed by Al and quoted 85 / 100
Machine Head - Burn My Eyes reviewed by Al and quoted CLASSIC
Machine Head - Supercharger reviewed by Danny and quoted 68 / 100
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