Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to yet another thrilling episode of A Scene In Retrospect. Today, our social media manager Valentin and our writer Zachary talk a bit about Machine Head’s incredibly acclaimed sixth studio album The Blackening. Enjoy!
I first got in touch with Machine Head in 2008 when they were supporting Metallica on their world tour. Now, I was thirteen years old when I was going to the concert, and didn’t know what to expect from the band.
They opened their set with “Clenching The Fists Of Decent” and I was instantly blown away. The main riff stuck in my head for days (and still does), so I just had to listen to the whole album over and over again after the concert. Being a guitarist myself, I’m always attracted from unique guitar work – and damn, The Blackening sure is a collection of so many insanely cool guitar parts (just listen to the dual-guitar solo in “Halo”!). Overall, the musicianship on this album is just on point: Intense and perfectly accentuated drumming, catchy basslines, and Robb Flynn at his absolute prime. Nevertheless, it took me some years before I realized what a what a unique and groundbreaking masterpiece The Blackening really is.
How Machine Head managed to merge so many different genres into one beautiful album still amazes me to this day. Reaching from thrash- to death- (and at some points even nu-) metal, The Blackening is a potpourri of modern metal. And isn’t that exactly what progressive metal is all about? In my opinion, The Blackening is one of the five best metal albums released in the last 17 years.
The Blackening! Where to start? This is probably one of the first albums to really give me an appreciation for listening to an album start-to-finish, and to this day, that’s the only way I CAN listen to this album.
Machine Head really achieved something amazing with this record, starting with earning a long-awaited respect in the metal/thrash community. It’s no lie to assume that they had a difficult time finding the sound and style that worked for them, always being in an awkward place between nu-metal and thrash. They were always likeable, but after they dropped The Blackening, they became near-legendary, having done something that not even some of the greats from the thrash scene could/had pulled off. There’s a reason it was hailed as their Black Album (arguably one of the best metal albums of all time), because like Metallica, they have created something that’s highly influential, epic in sound and great end-to-end; the makings of a near-perfect album.
I can’t highlight any song in particular because that would imply that any single track is better than another. Instead, I will only ever encourage people to commit to, and obviously enjoy, the last great thrash album. Ten years on and I still have moments listening to it where the riffs, tones and general metal mastery blows my mind. Machine Head surpassed themselves with this album, and put themselves on the list of bands you need to hear if you enjoy metal (at its finest).
So there you have it! What are your thoughts on this record? Is there an album you’d like to see receive the A Scene In Retrospect treatment? Let us know! See you next time for more opinions on classic prog/rock/metal records. Until then, stay safe, and…
…thanks for reading!