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June 23, 2024

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Machine Head
Through the Ashes of Empires (Roadrunner Records)

By: Mike SOS

Machine Head's career has come full circle, as the band's latest release is a highly touted return to the band's epic sound. Through the Ashes of Empires finds Rob Flynn and company making a comeback to the bruising metal assault that gave the Bay Area band its greatest notoriety, thanks to the band's rekindled approach to songwriting and Colin Richardson expert mixing skills. From the opening drum blasts of "Imperium", the fiery delivery, which the outfit sorely lacked in its previous endeavors, roars back with a vengeance. Tracks like the momentum-gaining "Days Turn Blue to Gray" showcase the visceral brutality and heavy-handed hooks which made Machine Head one of the more successful metal bands in the '90s. Yet, these songs display a more mature and reflective side of the band. And it's those kind of musical realizations that pop up all over this 10-track release, coupled with Flynn's lyrical exorcisms on "Left Unfinished" and "Descend the Shades of Night", that make Through the Ashes of Empires the best Machine Head record to date, and allows the outfit to definitively stake claim to the top of the metal realm again.
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