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Phil Demmel / Machine Head Info

How do you create a masterpiece of modern metal? Is it a conscious effort on the part of the artists or is it something more organic - a confluence of events and moods, emotions and mechanics that all come together in the right place at the right time? That's the question that comes to mind upon the first listen to Machine Head's sixth studio album The Blackening. Guitars rip, drums pound, bass thunders and lyrics resonate as the Bay Area quartet soars past the bar set by its critically-lauded predecessorThrough the Ashes of Empires. If Empires was the sounding of the trumpet, then The Blackening is the arrival of the hordes: dense, aggressive and inescapable.Produced once again by singer/guitarist Robb Flynn (Roadrunner United, Machine Head) and mixed by Colin Richardson (Bullet For My Valentine, Funeral For A Friend), The Blackening pushes the band's groundbreaking sound farther than it's ever gone before. Challenging themselves and each other to write a record that would demolish all of their boundaries, the band has delivered 60 minutes of the most structurally complex and technical material that Machine Head have ever recorded. Three-part guitar and bass harmonies, dueling solos, and savage thrash intricacy, sit alongside soaring three-part vocal harmonies, ultimately crashing head first into bludgeoning, Neanderthal riffage. "Pushing ourselves came pretty naturally for us with The Blackening. After writing songs like 'Imperium', 'Vim' and 'Days Turn Blue To Gray' on the last album, we felt really comfortable magnifying the complexity of our songs and it really shows on this album", exclaims drummer Dave McClain, and that fact becomes brilliantly obvious after listening to just the first few minutes of album opener "Clenching the Fists of Dissent". Yet, those "first few minutes" are merely a portion of what the ten-minute epic has in store for the listener, serving both literally and figuratively as the war cry for the record and setting the stage for the colossal statement that is The Blackening.

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