Released by: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 26 January 2018
Robb Flynn |vocals, guitars
Phil Demmel | guitars
Jared MacEachern | bass
Dave McClain | drums
Beyond the Pale **
California Bleeding X
Triple Beam ***
Bastards – love song to his sons – acoustic ***
Hope Begets Hope *****
Screaming at the Sun – ****
Behind a Mask – acoustic
Heavy Lies the Crown – atmospheric ***
Psychotic – ****
Grind you Down – XXXX
Razorblade Smile – XXXX
Eulogy – atmospheric
I began my journey into all things Machine Head back in 2004 when a friend ditched me with two tickets to their show with DevilDriver at the Opera House. I knew nothing about either band and that night learned less as Robb Flynn – lead singer/guitarist of Machine Head – has lost his voice and fans ended up singing until no one knew any more songs.
Luckily enough I hung tight and waited for my first album exposure to this Bay Area Band and was gifted with The Blackening. Since that time, Unto the Locust and Bloodstones & Diamonds saw some lineup changes – however, the music never disappointed.
Catharsis – the newest endeavor from Robb Flynn’s Machine Head – has a lot to endure as it boasts a hearty 15 tracks. I’ll try and break a few down for you.
Opening with Volatile, a track from the words “Fuck the World” is a war cry of dissatisfaction that sets the tone for this album. The clean guitar sound with determined percussion makes this a great song to open the Evening With Machine Head tour this year.
A great deal of acoustic material is on this album, including the tracks Behind a Mask and (what has now been turned to beat poetry) Bastards. Both songs again carrying the theme of what seems to me to be a sheer betrayal of the world to what the songwriter thought the world should be.
Catharsis for me is the best song on the album. Everything about it reminds me of the Machine Head that made me raise my fist in the air. The chug of heavy riffs leads this melodic tune back and forth from a place of abeyance to a place of aggression. A perfect combination to get it out in the pit and leave it there. Other ditties that can follow suit are songs like Beyond the Pale, Triple Beam and Psychotic.
If I had to describe Catharsis the album, Id call it an Oreo cookie. So much of the good stuff is in the middle so it is worth the time to listen to.
I have to be honest and say I think this album could have been a little better laid out tracklist wise and I do think that Robb being allowed to conjure demons on the car, but not being allowed to swear in the house has made it more difficult to articulate in full what perhaps Mr. Flynn had in mind.
Looking forward to hearing it live in March and it’s a good effort – just not their best.
Written by: Marianne “Den Mother” Jacobsen