The Blackening - The Album MACHINE HEAD Will Be Remembered By
February 10, 2019, 6 months ago
It was more than 10 years ago that The Blackening was released by Machine Head and going on recent evidence it seems like that will be the album that everybody will remember Machine Head by.
This is because The Blackening had many things going for it at the time when it was released. It was almost like playing a game of roulette at NetBet with stars aligning to ensure that you win every single spin.
These things included the metal audience's desire for a return to a true trash metal album which would also combine the spirit of the early 2000s. It also helped that there was an authoritarian political figure in George W. Bush, which polarized the band to write an anti-establishment album. Finally, there was also Machine Head's own desire to steer away from its previous rap and alt metal influences.
The period when The Blackening was released was also a period in which other metal powerhouses were either under a poor record label, were still working on their material or hadn't found their feet at the changing metal scene yet.
With Metallica's St Anger album premiering in 2003 it was really only a matter of time as to which metal band would capture that need for the first top quality trash album of the 21st century. Luckily for Machine Head, it was The Blackening.
Feeding the Crowd
In 2007 the crowd was hungry for an album that would signal a return to metal's golden age. It was almost as if everyone was looking for that missing album that Metallica didn't make between ...And Justice For All and The Black Album.
Machine Head were probably feeling the same way and duly delivered one of the greatest metal albums ever. The Blackening was the answer to the demand of the audience for an album which would combine that gritty and dense sound of the 1980s with rhythmic heavy metal structures. Just what the crowd ordered.
Return to the Bay Sound
Robb Flynn, Adam Duce, Logan Mader, and Tony Costanza left the Bay Area trash band Vio-lence to form Machine Head. The Blackening, as an album, definitely draws a lot of its inspiration from those days.
Lyrics wise for example, the now legendary song Aesthetics of Hate, is a vessel for Flynn to express his opinion on the baseless attack on Dimebag Darell. Back in the 1980s Bay Area scene similar themes of us against them were prevalent and that is another reason as to why the album hit home so hard.
However, it wouldn't be fair to the band to say that a large part of the success of The Blackening is down to the circumstances surrounding it. The biggest reason why the album became such a heavy hitter is actually the quality of the material in it.
Songs such as "Clenching the Fist of Dissent" and "A Farewell to Arms" feel like the two covers of a book. The first one starts slow and sets the pace of the album, while the last one slows everything down to a melodic halt. In between are songs such as "Halo" and "Aesthetics of Hate" which are the best things Machine Head related you will ever hear.