Album Review: Machine Head – ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN

Album Review: Machine Head - ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN
Reviewed by Tim Finch

Machine Head can be a strange entity at times, they came out all guns blazing in 1994 with ‘Burn My Eyes’, one of the best debut albums by any band of all time. It was always going to be tough for the band to live up to that initial foray onto the scene, ‘The More Things Change’ was solid, a great album, but did not quite live up to its predecessor. The less said about ‘The Burning Red’ the better, yet after that the band seemed to be treading water in terms of recorded material, it is good but still those albums sit in the shadow of that debut album. At least throughout their whole career they were ALWAYS on form live – even whilst touring ‘The Burning Red’!

Come 2022 with the band just shy of their thirtieth birthday they release their next foray into the recorded market with ‘ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN’ released via Nuclear Blast. The eternal question raises its head once more; “Can Machine Head match or even surpass Burn My Eyes?”. Today we find out!

The opening track ‘SLAUGHTER THE MARTYR’ immediately breaks the mould. A guitar string gently resonates, emitting a tune to which Robb Flynn can accompany with a heartfelt vocal, this lasts a full three minutes and nine seconds before exploding into life. As the ferocious guitar assault kicks off and Robb screams “Slaughter The Martyr” the listener is quickly dragged into the beating heart of the new Machine Head album. At ten minutes long (seven excluding the intro) it does feel a tad long, however it sets the scene for what is to come.

Album Review: Machine Head - ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN

‘CHØKE ØN THE ASHES ØF YØUR HATE’ picks up where the previous track left off, it’s breakneck speed, traditional Machine Head on acid, and what a trip these four minutes are! Throughout the album the band keep the pace high, this is not an record you can relax to, it gets the blood pumping. Even the fifty eight second interlude ‘ØVERDØSE’ sends a harrowing message before ‘MY HANDS ARE EMPTY’ kicks in. The throbbing, visceral ‘KILL THY ENEMIES’ slows the pace, yet is no less brutal in its assault on the listener.

In 'ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN' Machine Head have produced an album that hits the reset button. This is Machine Head 2022, a new line up, a new outlook, a new aggression, yet still 100% the Machine Head we love. Is it on par with ‘Burn My Eyes’? No, but it was never intended to be. It is an album that cannot be compared as such, it stands in its own right as a solid, well rounded Machine Head classic.

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