Machine Head “Catharsis” Album Review

Machine Head – “Catharsis” (Nuclear Blast Records)
By: Tom Hanno

Machine Head has a new album, Catharsis, coming out January 26th through Nuclear Blast Records. This release shows the band taking a different, yet familiar, direction. They have simplified their sound a lot, and this sometimes creates some backlash; so far it has been trashed by Decibel Magazine. I’m sure everyone will have differing opinions on it, mine is one of confusion and disappointment.

Catharsis starts off with a track called “Volatile”, which is a good song to get fans ready for the rest of the album. It shows a little of the direction the band has taken, but it is nowhere near an adequate representation of the music that follows.

“California Bleeding” sounds like it was a B-side from The Burning Red that never got used, but contains some cool elements too. The music has some highlights, but the lyrics are dated sounding, kind of immature sounding too. Robb Flynn is usually known for his lyrical content, but I feel that he won’t be for this track.

Sadly, the next track, “Triple Beam”, doesn’t give me much more hope for this album. I have the same issues with this song as I did with “California Bleeding”, even though there are some killer guitar riffs here and there, the lyrics just aren’t up to the Machine Head standard.  However, “Kaleidoscope” is a little better, the breakdown is heavy, and reminds me of their earlier music, but, yet again, I’m not feeling the lyrics.

It sounds like I’m totally destroying this album, and I kind of am, but there are some really cool guitar parts, and breakdowns going on. It’s just that everything around those parts isn’t up to what we expect from this band; Don’t even get me started on how “Bastards” is. If The Dropkick Murphy’s sang it we would love it, but this is not a Machine Head song. However, for an experiment, this is actually a well written song, it’s just so out of the ordinary for them.

This is the first time I have disliked an album this much, and actually wrote the review for it. I usually love Machine Head’s music, but I have to say that this album is a huge disappointment. Sorry, guys, but you can do a lot better. Bloodstones and Diamonds was a work of pure genius, and, while growth is good, this is not a direction that die hard followers of the band will like. So, fans of Machine Head, you will be unhappy with this release, but maybe they’ll gain some new, younger fans with this release. I shall sit back, and wait for their next one; hoping it will be much better.

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