Through The Ashes Of Empires
Metal Hammer voted Through the Ashes of Empires Album of the Year for 2003, touting it as the band’s best album since 1994’s Burn My Eyes. Although I have an awful lot of trouble agreeing with the former statement, there’s definitely very little doubt about the latter!
TTAOE is a return to form for Machine Head, whose last three studio albums have been at best mediocre Nu-Metal (The Burning Red) and at worst downright uninspired and clichéd (Supercharger). But now, with guitarist Ahrue Luster out (now in Ill Nino) and new axe man Phil Demmel in his place, the band seems reinvigorated with a ferocity that they’ve been missing for almost ten years. Legions of disenchanted Metallica freaks and those who worship at the alter of the tough-guy-with-no-neck Pantera brand of hard rock should go absolutely apeshit over the package that Machine Head has delivered here, complete with thrash metal guitar heroics and the vicious double-bass drumming of old.
Of course, awarding them “Metal Album of the Year” seems a little overzealous, as TTAOE isn’t a perfect 10 nor does it break any rules or think outside the box. There are other more innovative and progressive bands that seem more worthy of that honor. Progressive is something that Machine Head ain’t. In fact, the voodoo that they conjure up on their latest effort isn’t so much progressive, per se, as it is regressive. But it’s a regression that you won’t hear many diehard fans complaining about.
Machine Head: www.machinehead1.com