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Machine Head - Through The Ashes Of Empires review


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Band: Machine Head
Album: Through The Ashes Of Empires
Release date: October 2003

Disc I
01. Imperium
02. Bite The Bullet
03. Left Unfinished
04. Elegy
05. In The Presence Of My Enemies
06. Days Turn Blue To Gray
07. Vim
08. Seasons Wither [USA bonus]
09. All Falls Down
10. Wipe The Tears
11. Descend The Shades Of Night

Disc II [European slipcase edition bonus]
01. Bite The Bullet [demo]
02. Left Unfinished [demo]
03. Elegy [demo]
04. All Falls Down [demo]
05. Descend The Shades Of Night [demo]
+ The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears [video]
+ The Making Of "Through The Ashes Of Empires" [video]

As a Machine Head fan I'm one of those that think they never achieved anything as good as "Burn My Eyes" in their following releases. I don't mind Nu Metal and, honestly, "The Burning Red" was a very good move, in many aspects. I always admired a well conducted evolution, but "Supercharge" made me realize they couldn't take the alternative side any further, like if the previous work should had been an isolated experience.

"Through The Ashes Of Empires" was, then, something I highly expected. Well, nine years have passed since their brilliant debut and, I'm glad to announce that Machine Head is back to their early days! What a relief it was to hear "Imperium", its blasting riffs and tempo changes. The band has been, after all, tracing their own strategy never forgetting what their real essence is and changed to improve.

Like I said, "Imperium" is powerful. In fact it has a classic-like vibe that makes me elect it as the best song they ever came up with! The album goes on with variation and Flynn at his best. Moments like the mid-section of "Days Turn Blue To Gray" or "All Falls Down" show that besides the incredible deep and enraged voice he can do more melancholic part with excellence. Experience is indeed a key word here and the strength and creative amplitude shown makes "Through The Ashes Of Empires" constantly surprising, as it seems to have elements of each of their stages (gladly only the best ones). There are even solos to be heard. Short ones, it's a fact, but enough to show some skills without compromising the direct approach of their music. There are some really heavy guitars here, but the support of the drummer is essential. I mean, he's not incredibly fast or brutal, but the patterns he creates are continuously changing and imposing different rhythms. In the end there's a surprise called "Descend The Shades Of Night". It's built around an initial acoustic guitar based verse, very smooth song overall.

Everything good modern Thrash Metal should offer eventually appears in "Through The Ashes Of Empires". I hesitate on calling it Machine Head's best moment, but when the reason is "Burn My Eyes" I don't think that matters at all. Long live this imperium!

Written by Passenger | 04.01.2005


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 107 users
29.04.2008 - 07:01
Liver Failure
Suppose it's indeed one of their best. I do miss the whole industrial mentallity of their early 90s. But as far as their modern works can do, this one is ok.

member of the true crusade against old school heavy metal, early 80s thrash, NWOBHM, traditional doom, first and second wave black metal, old school death metal, US power metal, 70s prog rock and atmospheric doomsludgestoner. o/
23.01.2009 - 14:55
Better than Supercharger for sure. But far from the 1st two great albuns.
16.10.2011 - 18:14
Account deleted
"VIM" is unbelieavable...surely my fav apart from "Imperium".....

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