If Machine Head's crushing blockbuster of a metal album Burn My Eyes doesn't go down as one of the finest debuts then something is seriously wrong. Burn My Eyes features some of the most enthralling metal you will ever find, making for a scintillating introduction to this hard hitting band. Despite other shining efforts such as The Blackening and Unto The Locust, no further Machine Head release has captivated me to quite the same degree. Performing but not limited to a mix of thrash and groove metal Machine Head aren't a band that you can easily categorise but they are an easy band to like.
Machine Head have a new album called Bloodstone & Diamonds, and I will say that the diversity shown on this release may very well have some writing it off before they give it the chance it deserves. Bloodstone & Diamonds isn't totally dominated by Machine Head's cranked up metallic fury. Machine Head haven't just taken the safest route releasing more of the same, and sure it's a brave move when not everyone is so receptive to change and there have been mixed results in the past, but hey I think it has worked. There is even guest spots from two string quartets that perform on various tracks and an all-male quartet whom appear on "In Comes The Flood". The reality is that they haven't had a total revamp as Bloodstone & Diamonds still features that Machine Head sound, like that classic Machine Head guitar sound on "Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones". Along with Robb Flynn's vocals that remain wickedly aggressive though he does have cleaner passages on Bloodstone & Diamonds.
The first surprise inclusion is a brief introduction from the string section then we are greeted to a more straightforward metal pumping Machine Head for "Now We Die" and there is a lot to like here from the guitar solos to the variance in intensity. Based on Charles Manson "Night Of The Long Knives" is such a time shifter, with lots of cool ideas this one has so many tasty ingredients. The longest track "Sail Into The Black" spends the majority of its duration in a tranquil state, it's most effective how this track builds as Machine Head add some heavier touches to this atmospheric epic. They lay the metal hammer down again for "Eyes Of The Dead", another example that Bloodstone & Diamonds is not lacking crushing guitar work and blistering solos. "In Comes The Flood" and "Game Over" are two more excellent tracks that will have you eagerly pushing up the volume, "Imaginal Cells" is an instrumental incorporating spoken words in a similar way to the song "Real eyes, Realize, Real lies" off their debut. Machine Head end on a high thanks to the robust metal of "Take Me Through The Fire" easily one of the catchiest songs on Bloodstone & Diamonds.
Bloodstone & Diamonds will no doubt be slammed by some fans and embraced by others, but then that seems to the case with most of Machine Head's albums. While I'm not about to claim that this is a superior album to their last two studio efforts, Bloodstone & Diamonds will be continuing to get plenty of playtime by this writer.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1. Now We Die
2. Killers & Kings
3. Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones
4. Night Of Long Knives
5. Sail Into The Black
6. Eyes Of The Dead
7. Beneath The Silt
8. In Comes The Flood
9. Damage Inside
10. Game Over
11. Imaginal Cells (instrumental)
12. Take Me Through The Fire