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Machine Head - Øf Kingdøm And Crøwn Award winner

Machine Head
Øf Kingdøm And Crøwn
by Will Travers at 25 September 2022, 11:44 PM

There are few things that are certain in this world. The sun will pass through the sky, autumn will become winter and that MACHINE HEAD will bring the rage and fire with every destructive riff. Some 4 years on from their divisive release of “Catharsis”, the Thrash Metal titans are back with the impressive “Øf Kingdøm And Crøwn”. The artwork is something beautiful in its simplicity, but it is so striking, I am in love.

A strong introduction is always on the cards from MACHINE HEAD, and fans do not worry. In “Slaughter The Martyr” you get shades of LAMB OF GOD’s “Memento Mori” with a mysterious introduction that builds over time. Robb Flynn’s powerful clean vocals working in beautiful tandem with the guitar melody to ease you into the record. But that serenity is soon shattered with some more traditional MACHINE HEAD stylings, aggressive riffs and a relentless pace that batters against the listener for the remainder of the track. A beautiful and wonderful melding of newer and older stylings for the experienced groups showcase their evolution into the powerhouse they are today.

“Chøke Øn The Ashes Øf Yøur Hate” and “Becøme The Firestørm” bring the aggression in its most frenzied and energetic form from the get go. Each track is structured perfectly, taking the listener on an intense journey that leaves them screaming the anthemesque choruses (if they’re anything like me, well out of tune!) as they are left breathless and desperate for more, I can already tell you that you are nothing but a sweaty and exhausted mess in the pit from these two tracks alone in the live environment!

The record also showcases a wonderful track “My Hands Are Empty”, and I see the opening vocalisations as something of a war chant. Seriously just imagine an arena full of people in unison creating that – it sends chills down my spine! But don’t be fooled, holy shit this is heavy. The transitions from the trance like chant sections back to reality are sheer and full of aggression and pain. If there is one thing you can count on from MACHINE HEAD is that they all put their full emotion into the music and, I feel, that makes for a hell of a delivery in comparison to those that don’t!

We all know that Robb is an active political activist, during events all over recent years he has been there supporting the downtrodden and marginalised. He likes to use his platforms to provide a view, to thousands that may not have a full understanding of what is happening, an unfiltered glimpse into the issues that affect so many. “Kill Thy Enemies” is no different to me. It is steady and deliberate from the start, almost like a march… But lyrically it is so powerful, I may be reading into this too much (I’m sure my English Literature teacher all those years ago would be proud), but I cannot help but see this track as somewhat of a commentary on the social and political issues that are plaguing America, and whilst we can all watch on, some of us are able to make a difference, in whatever way we can.

Other tracks throughout give a fantastic showing for the band. The traditional MACHINE HEAD blend of aggression, intensity and just a downright doggedness that is sometimes hard to find in music these days. I can recall Robb saying in Brixton in 2019 that they wanted to be ‘Harder, louder, faster than everyone else’ and well, if this is anything to go off, then I think you’ve achieved that Robb.

Overall, I’m sure it’ll come as no shock to you, this is an absolutely superb album. I have listened to “Øf Kingdøm And Crøwn” over and over, from cover to cover. The structure, the flow and mix are all finished to impossibly high standards. If this is a heralding that MACHINE HEAD are back (not that they were ever really gone) then be prepared world, the rager has just begun!

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Slaughter The Martyr
2. Chøke Øn The Ashes Øf Yøur Hate
3. Becøme The Firestørm
4. Øverdøse
5. My Hands Are Empty
6. Unhalløwed
7. Assimilate
8. Kill Thy Enemies
9. Nø Gøds, Nø Masters
10. Bløødshøt
11. Røtten
12. Terminus
13. Arrøws In Wørds Frøm The Sky
Lineup:
Robb Flynn – Vocal / Guitar
Jared MacEachern – Vocal / Bass
Vogg – Guitar
Navene Koperweis – Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records
     


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