Like Napoleon Bonaparte and the annoying little prick from Home Alone, the problem with California’s Machine Head is that they peaked too soon. ‘Burn My Eyes’, their absolutely amazing 1994 debut, was a stunning work of groove-infused thrash metal that made you want to kill people and smoke their bones. Problem is, everything that came afterwards wasn’t. Sixth album ‘The Blackening’ is no return to form, yet the longer songs on the record (many clock in at over 10 minutes and sound like the bit in ’80s horror films when somebody gets stabbed through the head) are intriguing works of progressive metal that suggest they’ve become aware of the genius of Mastodon. Yet, that a band’s new record makes you want to dig out their
12-year-old debut, is hardly a great thing.