Vera : According to Robb Flynn (see interview), artists are always a bit more sensitive about what’s going on in the world than the common man in the street, since they have a more emotional view on life. And many things happened in the world since predecessor ’Bloodstone & Diamonds’ came out about three years ago, that’s obvious. Thus it might be no coincidence that the ninth Machine Head studio album got the title ‘Catharsis’, a purification of mind and body to be able to deal with all these things happening in this sublunary.
It turned into a comprehensive work of 75 minutes length and three characteristics we will put afore, before going into further investigation of the songs: tracks are more compact and among these shorter songs we also find more sensitive moments when Flynn does not sing in a booming voice, but sounds fragile and sensitive. And the songs are less relished with orchestral arrangements (only three), an increase of orchestral ornaments was noticeable on previous albums. With ‘Volatile’ we right away get a kick in the face. The first scream that reaches us, is: ‘Fuck The World’ and of course that’s what this album is about. Raging fast with fervent guitar solos. Naturally kudos not only go to Robb Flynn, in nearly every song we can enjoy magnificent guitar solos of Phil Demmel and the rhythm section is tight-as-hell. The title track – with its suitable video clip – shows a nice contrast between the up-roaring and softer, smooth, slightly drawling vocals, while the beginning is very atmospheric. We all know it, Flynn does not mince his words and that is pretty obvious in thundering tracks like ‘Beyond The Pale’ and ‘California Bleeding’ (about his love/hate feelings for that State). And what shall we think of the diary fragment about the drug scène in ‘Triple Beam’ that directly brings us on the fringes of society? ‘Kaleidoscope’ happens to be a straight invitation to have moshpits at concerts.
It only gets calmer again in the marvelous ‘Bastards’. You would not say it, but Flynn speaks to his sons here about the way of the world and in the end he really gets angry. A bit further there is more sensibility, more precisely in the sober, yet captivating ‘Behind A Mask’ and the longest track ‘Heavy Lies The Crown’. After an introspective start, sung with broken voice, it cuts loose in tight riffs and guitar solos. This is pure heavy metal and when it bursts out it really reminds me of Manowar. Funny! Next we have energetic rebellion again with subjects like psychosis and so on… By the way, sometimes Flynn reminds me a bit of the rebellion of the young Max Cavalera, but well… both bands have their roots in thrash metal, isn’t it? Yet Machine Head goes much more beyond boundaries. After few thrash grenades, we have the beautiful, contemplative ‘Eulogy’ as closing track. A welcome moment of reflection. ‘Catharsis’ is an abundance of emotions. Sometimes rage, sometimes rejoice, sometimes introspective reveries and yearning for distant needs. It represents life itself with that far-reaching intensity, typical for Machine Head. Release date: 26th of January 2018.