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Monday, 31 October 2011

Reviews: Machine Head, Chickenfoot, Exit State

Machine Head: Unto The Locust (Roadrunner)

A bit late as I bought the 'proper' edition not the magazine one. From the acapella opening, 8 minute runtime and split passages of I Am Hell (Sonata In C#) you know that Unto The Locust is going to be something a bit special. Album follows on from where The Blackening left off and adds to the now expansive Machine Head sound. Don't underestimate this album it is metal of the very fucking heavy variety but it adds flourishes of prog here and dashes of classic rock there. I Am Hell itself evolves into a heavy thrasher full of speed metal riffing and squealing solo's all of which are fantastic with Phil Demmel and Robb Flynn ripping any of their contemporaries apart. The second track starts with a melodic guitar riff and evolves into almost an arena rock song. Flynn's voice is fantastic throughout he screams, roars, shouts and even sings brilliantly on every track. Dave McClain's drumming is both restrained and explosive and Adam Duce also produces his seminal bass power on all of the tracks. Third track Locust is classic Machine Head and is still as powerful as when it was released a few months ago. The slow-burning This Is The End follows and then erupts into a maelstrom of heavy riffing before merging into the ballad-like Darkness Within which is Machine Head's Fade To Black. The proggy Pearls Before The Swine has changing time signatures and a sprawling nature. Final song Who We Are has machine gun drumming, heavy rock riffing and choral finish which rounds out the album in style. This is an awesome album that features all of Machine Head's trademarks and adds some of their influences as well. These are further explored in the two covers featured on the special edition one is Judas Priest's The Sentinel and the other is Rush's Witch Hunt, the Priest one is good and the Rush one is...okay but their influences are at their most evident throughout the proceeding tracks. Unto The Locust is not just a fantastic metal album but a fantastic album period. BUY IT NOW! 10/10   

Chickenfoot: III (EarMusic)

The super group return with their confusingly titled second album III this album seems the band being just that a 'band' more of cohesive unit. Like their self-titled debut they mix elements of all their bands e.g. Montrose, Van Halen, RHCP and also legends like Zeppelin to create a heavy, funky rock sound. Up Next is one of tracks that show this as it is filled with funky, bass heavy rocking and the tongue-in-cheek lyrics of Sammy Hagar. Chad Smith hammers the drums keeping a heavy backbeat that is buoyed by Michael Anthony's groove-leaden bass. Joe Satriani's playing is somewhat understated compared to his day job but it still packs punch where it is needed and he works brilliantly in this band setting, the best example of this is Three And Half Letters and Dubai Blues the first is a social commentary song with a heavy rocking riff and some squealing solo's from Satch and the second is a Zeppelin-like haze of a rock song with some great playing. Hagar's voice is also on top-form his whiskey (or should that be tequila?) soaked vocals add a bluesy vibe to all of the tracks. All of the tracks are solid the only exceptions being Alright Alright and Big Foot which both seem a bit generic. Other than that the album is a step up from their debut, only a small one but the band seems to be carving their own niche in heavy-funky rock music that defines them as a talented band rather than talented individuals. Also I just want to comment that they have the best CD packaging by far, 3D glasses are always awesome. 8/10

Exit State: Black Veins (Rocksector Records)

The British rock band return with their second release coming only a year after their debut album. It was good album if a little short and under-produced. This is an entirely different beast with the band's playing and song writing has improved tenfold. This album has less of the hard rock tendencies of their debut and mixes post-grunge with sleaze and arena rock. The latter best represented by the track All For You (which features an epic guitar solo from ex-The Prodigy man Gizz Butt) this track follows on from the early arena style rock from their debut, the rest of the album is straight ahead post-grunge with frontman Roy Bright's angsty vocal delivery giving the band a big emotional edge. Despite many of the tracks following a similar style, some do vary the style with Wasted having a distinctly sleazy style and the opening track Enough Already having a very punky vibe. This is a great album for any fans of hard rock with a modern edge. 7/10    

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