The Blackening was clearly MACHINE HEAD’s most acclaimed record since their debut, Burn My Eyes. Career-wise, following up the former is no easy task but the band have done so in strong fashion with Unto the Locust.
As with The Blackening, the band continue to push themselves to the limits of their playing abilities and it serves them well. There are plenty of scorching moments that are just awesome. Pure metal riffing, including plenty of thrash beckoning from the band’s roots, neo classical-meets-metal influences, classical guitar, children’s choir, violins, etc. power Unto the Locust. The musical scope of the record, at times, seems so vast as there is such diversity here, and MACHINE HEAD do a masterful job of finding an apt place for everything. It’s a credit to the superb songwriting and ambition of the band.
But the record is not all about brutality or speed. There are plenty of powerful solemn moments that are refreshingly soulful. It’s just another dichotomy among many on Unto the Locust that gives it its multi-dimensional nature.
Beyond the aforementioned, Unto the Locust succeeds because the sense of urgency, honest emotion, and introspective lyrics bring it all together. And naturally, vocalist/guitarist/lyricist Robb Flynn can be credited with much of this. His voice and lyrics exude the type of passion and charisma that reaches people. There is a lot of pain and introspection going on and it’s expressed very powerfully.
Without a doubt, Unto the Locust is another victory for MACHINE HEAD and easily one of the best albums of the year. Not to be missed. (Roadrunner Records)