It’s been a turbulent three years in the metal world since Machine Head released Unto the Locust to much critical praise. We’ve seen the continued rise of djent and it’s bastardizations, deathcore’s leanings into more progressive territories, progressive metal’s leanings into softer and more introspective territories, black metal through the eyes of shoegazers, and the return of a few old school death metal bands. The late nineties saw the band conform to the sound of the times, adopting the nu-metal style introduced by bands like Rage Against the Machine , Korn , and Limp Bizkit in years prior. Luckily, the current musical climate has had no impact on Machine Head, who have chosen to pound the flag they’ve been flying since their triumphant return to form with 2004’s Through the Ashes of Empires deeper into the ground, resulting in Bloodstone & Diamonds , their latest gem and first release for Nuclear Blast . Whereas Machine Head merely flirted with orchestral arrangements in the past, opening track ‘Now We Die’ starts off with a full on string section, setting the tone for the prodigious journey that lay ahead. The return of producer Colin Richardson is immediately apparent once things kick in: buzzsaw quad-layered guitars, drums punchier than Mike Tyson, and distorted bass sitting perfectly in the mix to complement the guitars. The sonics of Unto the Locust were perfectly appropriate for most metal albums of its caliber, but Richardson’s return makes it apparent that there is an intangible magic when the two work together. This is also the first album to feature new bassist Jared MacEachern after the well publicized fallout with original bassist Adam Duce , leaving Flynn as the sole original member. The band has been fraught with lineup changes over the years, but the heart of Machine Head has always been with Flynn. By the time second track, ‘Killers and Kings,’ bulldozes it’s way through the speakers, any apprehension is completely removed. Drummer Dave McClain ’s tasteful and simple ride bell play during the choruses carries the song masterfully, and his performance throughout the album is a testament to powerful modern metal drumming. Bloodstone & Diamonds does not wear any masks, exuding an honesty lost on much of today’s metal. In Machine Head’s case, perhaps it is a continued rebellion against their “experimental” period from 1999’s The Burning Red to 2001’s Supercharger . Despite this, the band have retained the best parts of said period while keeping the foundation they built in the beginning with Burn My Eyes , and also venturing into new territory. ‘Eyes of the Dead’ is the most representative track of their career by far, and perhaps the strongest track on the album. The intro reeks of early Megadeth with the ascending tapping lick over the pulsing drums, calling to mind ‘The Conjuring’ from the classic Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? . The verses thrash about in the melodeath way the band adopted on Through the Ashes of Empires , with a deadly infectious chorus with Flynn chanting “Murder! Murder!” and a follow-up hook worthy of the best melodic moments from The Burning Red . Add a whammy bar breakdown groove in the mid-section worthy of 1997’s The More Things Change and you have a massive recipe for success, all while not sounding the least bit derivative. From a performance aspect, this album marks some of Robb Flynn ’s most impassioned and versatile singing in years. The airy falsetto of the verses on ‘Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones’ are simultaneously sensuous and foreboding, counteracting perfectly with the bendy groove that follows. Without a doubt the biggest surprise found here is the brooding and eerie ‘Sail Into The Black’. Parts of this song reek of Ulver ’s dark ambient masterpiece Shadows Of The Sun , which is absolutely not a bad thing. Whether this is mere coincidence remains to be seen, but the drone of the baritone choir, thick and enveloping vocal harmonies, and subtle orchestral elements call the album to mind. It’s not until around the halfway mark when the trademark chainsaw guitars, distorted bass, and pounding drums kick in do we have any inkling that we’re still listening to Machine Head. While past tracks like ‘Violate’ and ‘Down to None’ extracted the sludgiest roots of the band, they have dug even deeper into the muck with the swampy ‘Beneath the Silt’. The track opens like an audio engineer’s dream, with the drums pounding out a gigantic fill that highlights the perfectly roomy mix. This is followed by possibly the lowest tuning the band have used to date, with a simple, bluesy, and filthy riff flinging gunk all over the precious and pretty melodic moments delivered on the previous six tracks. The song is not lost on melody however, with Flynn’s hypnotic falsetto covering the chuggy verse like an opiate laced wine basted over a stuffed pig. ‘Game Over’ smacks of bitterness and regret lyrically, quite obviously being an elegy to the friendship between Flynn and Duce. As Flynn cries “Another time, when music’s all we had, bonded by anger and addictions, so glad, always together, but no words are spoken, this is the sound of a friendship broken”, it’s hard to imagine it being anything but. Flynn also took to the mic in the past to deal with former guitarist Logan Mader ’s departure with the Sabbath infused ‘Devil With the King’s Card’ from The Burning Red , so this comes as no surprise. The only downside to this album is the sprinkled on patriotism of ‘In Comes the Flood’. The majority of the music is superb, with the use of orchestra in the beginning and the cascading classical melodies on the tail of the main riff. The problem is the uninspired populist ranting over the top of everything, especially the tired sounding “Wake up, America!” over a riff that drags harder than Ru Paul. Leaving this track off the album would have eschewed a perfect score. Despite this setback, Machine Head have delivered yet another classic addition to their catalog to rival and revel in the most triumphant moments of their career. ? Machine Head’s Bloodstone & Diamonds gets… 4.5/5 -DW
Posts Tagged ‘song’
YouTube There are times in rock where the planets just align for a great collaboration and that happened again last week (Feb. 22) at Stockholm, Sweden’s Bandit Rock Awards when Halestorm ‘s Lzzy Hale hopped onstage to join Slash and his touring band Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators for a performance of Guns N’ Roses ‘ ‘Out Ta Get Me.’ This isn’t the first time the pair have teamed up on the song, as Hale crossed paths with Slash and his band in The Netherlands last year and also performed the Guns N’ Roses cover. At the time, Hale stated, “It was so cool. When we started the song, out of habit I went into live rock mode and kind of spaced out for a second and then went into the middle section where we were just kind of riffing with the solo and just kind of lost my mind for a second. I was like, ‘What’s going on? Slash is right here! He’s sweating on me!’ It was so cool. It was the best thing ever.” This time around, Hale and her old pal Slash were better acquainted and even shared a warm embrace at the end of the performance. Fan-shot footage from the Bandit Rock Awards performance can be seen below. In addition to playing ‘Out Ta Get Me’ with Slash onstage a couple of times, the Guns N’ Roses song was one of Halestorm’s covers on their 2011 EP, ‘ ReAniMate: The Covers EP .’ Halestorm, who just won the Best Hard Rock / Metal Performance Grammy , will return to the States in April when they begin the HardDrive Live Tour with Bullet for My Valentine . Watch Lzzy Hale Join Slash for ‘Out Ta Get Me’ [button href=”http://loudwire.com/halestorm-arejay-hale-reacts-to-grammy-win-hater-backlash/” title=”Next: Arejay Hale Reacts to Grammy Win + Backlash” align=”center”]
Soundgarden: Official Instagram Foo Fighters have had their fair share of humorous, lighthearted videos over the years, but Dave Grohl took advantage of a break in his schedule to try to bring some of that same levity to one of his favorite bands — Soundgarden . Grohl recently directed Soundgarden’s ‘By Crooked Steps’ video and he told Fuse that the clip was something that came to mind in his head the first time he heard the song. “I’ll just make a video in my head while I’m listening to the song, and I didn’t know if it was gonna be a single or if they wanted to make a video or what, so I just wrote an email,” recalls Grohl. “I called my manager and I said, ‘I think I have an idea for a Soundgarden video.’” The Foo frontman says the next step was pitching it to the band. He adds in Fuse’s video interview (seen below), “I wrote out the idea and I sent it to the drummer [Matt Cameron] and he said, ‘Yeah, that’s kind of cool. I don’t really know if we’re gonna make a video.’ And so we kind of made them make the video.” Speaking about getting the band up on Segways to portray a “gang,” Grohl says, “For Soundgarden to do something like that, they’re not known for their ‘wicked’ sense of humor. Although, they are really f—ing funny people. You would never know this, but super dry and hilarious. But the idea of them on the Segways was like, ‘You know, it could work.’” The video for ‘By Crooked Steps’ can be seen here . Watch Dave Grohl Discuss Directing Soundgarden’s ‘By Crooked Steps’ Video [button href=”http://loudwire.com/soundgarden-talk-future-albums-perform-at-inaugural-balls/” title=”Next: Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell Discusses Recording Future” align=”center”]
Warner Bros. Choosing a 10 Best Songs list for Linkin Park was no easy task as some very solid and well-known tracks just barely missed our cut. But one thing is for sure, the ever-evolving six-piece of Chester Bennington , Mike Shinoda , Brad Delson, Joe Hahn, Dave “Phoenix” Farrell and Rob Bourdon have always kept things interesting with a hybrid mix of rock, metal, rap and electronic music. So, as we present this Top 10 countdown of Linkin Park songs, keep in mind that we tried so hard, but in the end we hope we chose the songs that really mattered. Check out our list of the 10 Best Linkin Park Songs below: 10 ‘Breaking the Habit’ From: ‘Meteora’ (2003) ? ? What started off as Mike Shinoda’s epic instrumental track called ‘Drawing’ eventually turned into a more fleshed-out hit single called ‘Breaking the Habit.’ Though it was the final song released off their ‘Meteora’ album, it’s turned into one of their more enduring tracks, perhaps due to the personal nature of the lyrics. Chester Bennington belts, ” I don’t know how I got this way / I know it’s not alright / So I’m breaking the habit ” with every ounce of emotion. Listen to ‘Breaking the Habit’ ? ? 9 ‘Waiting for the End’ From: ‘A Thousand Suns’ (2010) ? ? ‘Waiting for the End’ just has that bouncy groove that both differentiates itself and makes it a natural fit as one of Linkin Park’s 10 best songs. Bennington described the track as having a “summertime vibe,” and the combination of Rob Bourdon’s drums and Joe Hahn’s samples really give the track that special sound. Add in Shinoda’s rasta-like rapping with Bennington’s more melodic delivery and you’ve got the makings of something special. Listen to ‘Waiting for the End’ ? ? 8 ‘Crawling’ From: ‘Hybrid Theory’ (2000) ? ? ‘Crawling’ will always hold a special place for Linkin Park as it gave them their first Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance. Bennington delivers one of his fiercest screams to date, but admits it’s one of the more difficult songs to perform. He told Spin , “[It’s] about feeling like I had no control over myself in terms of drugs and alcohol … This is just who I am, this is what I write about, what I do, and most of my work has been a reflection of what I’ve been going through in one way or another.” Listen to ‘Crawling’ ? ? 7 ‘Bleed It Out’ From: ‘Minutes to Midnight’ (2007) ? ? With ‘Bleed It Out,’ Shinoda got a chance to come to the forefront though the ‘Minutes to Midnight’ album as a whole featured less of his rap style that its predecessors. The clap-along rocker was a meta track about the perfection they put into their recording process, with Shinoda spelling out their drive in the opening line: ” Here we go for the hundredth time / hand grenade pins in every line / Throw ’em up and let something shine / Going out of my f—ing mind .” Thankfully they did bleed it out and dig a little deeper, cause this song is no throw away. Listen to ‘Bleed It Out’ ? ? 6 ‘Lying From You’ From: ‘Meteora’ (2003) ? ? ‘Lying From You’ is the perfect example of what the band did best early in their career and is a must for the 10 Best Linkin Park Songs list. It starts with a Joe Hahn viola-infused keyboard sample, then gives way to some hard-hitting Bourdon drumming, gritty guitar and bass work from Brad Delson and Phoenix Farrell and is offset with some of Shinoda’s best rhymes and Bennington’s supreme screams. It’s no wonder the track has become a live favorite over the years. Listen to ‘Lying From You’ ? ? 5 ‘Given Up’ From: ‘Minutes to Midnight’ (2007) ? ? Linkin Park delivered one of their hardest songs to date with ‘Given Up’ off the ‘Minutes to Midnight’ album. Guitarist Brad Delson shines on this track, not only for the infectious guitar lick that drives the song, but also for the keys jingling at the start of the cut. It’s also notable for Bennington’s excessive 17-second scream before the final chorus that drives home the alienation laid out in the lyrics. Listen to ‘Given Up’ ? ? 4 ‘Faint’ From: ‘Meteora’ (2003) ? ? LInkin Park’s early sampling along with a sped up guitar track from Delson and some dexterous drumming from Bourdon make ‘Faint’ one of the band’s more distinguishable songs. Though the title is never uttered in the track, the song itself is about making sure that you’re never so faint that your opinion isn’t heard. As Bennington belts, ” I can’t feel the way I did before / Don’t turn your back on me / I won’t be ignored .” Listen to ‘Faint’ ? ? 3 ‘One Step Closer’ From: ‘Hybrid Theory’ ? ? Need to blow off some steam? ‘One Step Closer’ is the track for you. Linkin Park’s ode to frustration ended up being the song that broke them to a mass audience. As a calling card, you could do a lot worse that Bennington’s in-your-face declaration, “Shut up when I’m talking to you.” As for the question of who was about to make Bennington break, the vocalist revealed in a 2011 with Kerrang that some of the lyrics were inspired by producer Don Gilmore who had repeatedly asked the band to rework the song. Listen to ‘One Step Closer’ ? ? 2 ‘Numb’ From: ‘Meteora’ (2003) ? ? ‘Numb’ is definitely one of Linkin Park’s more powerful songs, speaking heavily about trying to live up to someone else’s expectations. Bennington cuts right to the heart of the matter, singing, ” Don’t know what you’re expecting of me / Put under the pressure of walking in your shoes / Every step that I take is another mistake to you .” Blending equal parts melody and aggression, ‘Numb’ has become one of the band’s most beloved tracks. Listen to ‘Numb’ ? ? 1 ‘In the End’ From: ‘Hybrid Theory’ (2000) ? ? Though ‘One Step Closer’ was the song that broke Linkin Park, ‘In the End’ was the track that made sure that fans were around to stay. The song’s perfect blend of melancholy melody and angst-driven aggression showed the range of what the band could do. While Bennington may say in the track that he tried so hard, but in the end nothing really mattered, Linkin Park fans might disagree. The craftsmanship put on this cut made it a solid choice for the top of the 10 Best Linkin Park Songs list. Listen to ‘In the End’ ? ? What Are Linkin Park’s Best Songs? We’re well aware there are still a lot of great Linkin Park songs that didn’t make the cut and here’s your chance to make your argument to replace one on our list with another. Should chart-toppers like ‘Somewhere I Belong,’ ‘What I’ve Done,’ ‘The Catalyst’ or ‘Burn It Down’ be there? How about favorites like ‘Papercut,’ ‘Leave Out All the Rest,’ ‘Shadow of the Day’ or ‘Lost in the Echo’? Let us know your thoughts on this list in the comments section below.