Friends and foes were waiting for about four and a half years for this album. The fans to enthrone Machine Head deep inside their hearts as one of the best bands of all times, the ones that can bring hope to the whole scene and the ones that can lead the heavy riffing to a new dimension. Enemies would always state that MH is not a pure metal band, they focus on the groove, they play what’s trendy in the specific moment they release their albums and they are overestimated through the years. I am not the one to tell who’s right and wrong here, I must only state my opinion in the most harsh way and the most objective also, as much as I can of course. And the truth is that in the end, ”Unto The Locust” conquered all doubts, destroyed all barriers I had set before its listening and I can say I’m more than satisfied with the final result. Mainly because it’s something I wasn’t expecting in terms of musical direction.

The new album took quite a long time to be released but it seemed that it was worked until the last second. This shows from the beginning, as the sound of the album is rather fresh, modern as much as it should be, without making the band sound cheesy and also, quite different compared to what we had got used to. It is the perfect chance for non followers to bury the band six feet under, and the perfect time for fans to love this band more than ever. It is most certain that this release will leave no person not dealing with it. We’re talking for one of the best bands of the last 20 years and as is sounds logic, all people not liking something, they always try to harm the strong ones. MH have proved that they deal with controversy more than great, don’t forget that such events almoste lead them to splitting up before the release of ”Through The Ashes Of Empires” in 2003. That was the second birth of the band and since then they deliver quality in each given occasion. Such as this one.

The album opens with ”I Am Hell (Sonata In C#)” and to be honest, it’s more than strange to listen to Robb Flynn singing in latin in a mellow way. Once the song develops, we have a great outburst and the first sample that the album is gonna grab you hard, unlikely to let you go for the next 49 minutes (which become 63 if you get the limited edition with the two excellent covers by Judas Priest and Rush). Flynn does his best vocal performance ever and the most mature for sure. Followed by his partners in crime in tremendous shape, he spits every lyric with certainty, while Phil Demmel helps him with the guitar work, and the phenomenal rhythm section of Adam Duce on bass and Dave McClain on drums (he really sounds out of control on the whole album) offer to their fans an album that despite being a little strange in the beginning, it is bound to become a grower to their hearts. In ten years, this album will be acknowledged as one that made metal music more interesting in general, I am more than sure about this.

As the album goes on, we have tracks like ”Be Still And Know” or ”This Is The End” that groove their way to your mind and could easily become your favourites from the album. The double bass break through interpretations of McClain will leave you speechless, while the guitar work closes its eye on ”The Blackening” sound, evolving it as much as possible. The good thing is that they didn’t try to repeat themselves in this process, after all we deal with the album that made them undoubtedly colossal to everybody’s eyes (even the haters’) and it would be more than naive and suicidal to do the same. Maybe that’s why they left ”Locust” leak first, to make sure they could break all doubt about this. And they certainly did. ”Locust” sounds much better if you listen to it together with the rest songs, because to be honest, I didn’t like it that much at first. Here, put in the right place, it surely works much better and might prove to be a true classic in the future.

”Darkness Within” follows the ”Descend The Shaded Of Night” process of writing, being a very emotional song (the acoustic version as a bonus kicks serious ass). The duo of ”Pearls Before The Swine” (the hidden diamond of the album) and the closer ”Who We Are” wave the middle finger of MH pointed to all those having something pointless to say about them. ”Unto The Locust” is different, it sounds promising and it will surely stand as one of the best albums of 2011 and the whole following decade. It is not the best album they have done, nor the best they could offer. I still miss the first two albums’ wrath, but I love the maturity they show since 2003. I must praise them for not making a second ”The Blackening” (they couldn’t do it anyway, but still I must point this out) and for keeping the level rather high. It is a little strange for me that this time they are not as perfect as I got used to in their beginning or their last two albums. But what counts is that they returned fresh and having something really useful to say. Those lucky to see them live in this tour, will suffer a lifetime shock. This is who they are! And will forever be! Let progress ring with a shotgun blast!

Track List Line Up
01. I Am Hell (Sonata In C#)
02. Be Still And Know
03. Locust
04. This Is The End
05. Darkness Within
06. Pearls Before The Swine
07. Who We Are
08. The Sentinel (Bonus Track)
09. Witch Hunt (Bonus Track)
10. Darkness Within (Acoustic) (Bonus Track)
Adam Duce – Bass
Robb Flynn – Guitars, Vocals
Dave McClain – Drums
Phil Demmel – Guitars