To lay out every reason why The Blackening is modern thrash’s untouchable magnum opus would take an entire essay, never mind a list entry. It would be more than possible to sit here all day and talk about how amazingly taut yet technical the guitars are, or how masterful the pacing is, or Robb Flynn’s powerful vocal performance and lyrics, but the best thing about Machine Head’s sixth album is probably that it’s one with a legitimate chip on its shoulder.
This is a record with a lot to say and a lot of reasons as to why you should listen. Whether it’s the emotive, anti-war epic “A Farewell to Arms”, the slick political commentary of “Clenching the Fists of Dissent”, the expletive subversion of “Slanderous”, or “Halo” – the self-professed “abortion’s knife” to “the Christian conspiracy” – Machine Head air their dirty laundry for the world to hear in glorious fashion. The Blackening is angry but never petulant, attacking a diverse array of topics with an equally diverse array of songs: from slow ballad to fast rocker to melodic anthem to progressive sh*tstorm, there’s a slice of every kind of metal track to be found here.
This is an album that is both intelligent and raw. It brings not only the sheer force that fans love about metal, but new, previously untapped ways in which to display it.