3. Beyond the Pale
4. California Bleeding
5. Triple Beam
8. Hope Begets Hope
9. Screaming at the Sun
10. Behind a Mask
11. Heavy Lies the Crown
13. Grind You Down
14. Razorblade Smile
Reviewed by Mitch Charlton
Anyone that follows Machine Head through Social Media has seen or at least read Rob Flynn’s rants and comments on society or current situations within the world. The new album, aptly named ‘Catharsis’, is the music behind the social commentary. Catharsis has 15 tracks, with some of the same Machine Head tracks that fans will love and then also a few curve balls that may take a couple of listens to understand the method in the madness.
The album kicks off with ‘Volatile’ and the statement ‘Fuck the World’. The track is a standard Machine Head track with all their usual skills involved with heavy groove laden riffage and breakdowns with pinch harmonics. The song also sets a standard on political and world view lyrical content for the rest of the album. Creating this album would have been incredibly draining process this time around. 15 songs dealing with their own views on the current state of the world and the suffering that is involved daily from people everywhere in every situation.
Catharsis, I feel may take fans a few listens before finding the diamonds in the rough. The album is heavy and groovy, just what the fans want to hear come from Machine Head but the albums more diverse tracks like Bastards and Behind the Mask may have people skip over the tracks. Stand out tracks are Volatile, Catharsis and Hope Begets Hope. They show some of the same Machine Head song writing from the likes of The Blackening and Unto the Locust. Whilst tracks like California Bleeding and Triple Beam have a bit more of a Hip Hop style in Robs phrasing. The songs are dealing with either a to-do list in Cali or reminiscing of times past spent for Rob, either way they have ‘from the street’ nu metal vibe, which may throw some listeners out.
The track Bastards is Rob having a go at the leaders of America wiping away the populations will to fight and telling his sons to stand up for what is right with the world. Whilst the message is true and clear, I think this is one of the busiest songs on the album. There is a guitar lead played over the acoustic guitar and vocals that then kicks into the heavier end of the song that rhythmically feels like a Dropkick Murphy’s Irish drinking song. With so much going on within the song I feel as if the message behind music may be lost slightly.
While this album is definitely Machine Head doing what they do best with their ‘Don’t give a fuck attitude’ I don’t think it stands up against their previous works like The Blackening and Unto the Locust. 15 songs is incredibly long for a single album and I’m curious at the number they had before cutting it down to this. The album would probably do well with a book that comes with it explaining all the ‘stories’ behind the lyrics, they sound like they are written from firsthand experience in the situations being dealt with, like the scenarios all throughout California Bleeding. I hope that the making of this album has been a Cathartic experience for Machine Head, whilst not being their best album, I still enjoyed listening and will be interested to see which ones they choose to bring to the live circuit.
You can pre-order Catharsis on itunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/catharsis/1313463113