The same thing that happened to many bands, that not stand still, but try to experiment, expectedly happens with the Machine Head: every new album is criticized (not always adequate), mingles with shit (with sanctimonious comments “It tears me apart, but…”) and loud shouts “Machine Head finally died with this album”. Nevertheless, with each new album this situation repeats again and again. The same thing happens to ‘Catharsis’.
Robb Flynn talks about an album: “I feel like metal could really infiltrate the mainstream with this album. And it needs to… now more than ever. A lot of consideration went into making these songs more identifiable to a wider audience. Simplifying ideas, simplifying hooks, really concentrating on story-telling as opposed to ‘brutal poetry’ or whatever. And while I’d love to say it was all some grand plan, there was no plan. You never know where you’re going to end up whenever you start writing a record… you just write… but I tell ya what… we ended up with a landmark here. Whenever you finish an album, you always feel proud, but this time… we’ve got something really special. We can feel it. We know it. Catharsis could really elevate our genre”.
Well, Machine Head‘s frontman didn’t lied, an album is really different from their previous works. It has groove – let’s take their first single “Beyond The Pale” or “Volatile”, which opens the album with a loud scream “Ooooh, fuck the world!!!”. Also there is typical for the band eight minutes songs like “Heavy Lies The Crown”, which starts with a little string orchestra and develops to a fast and heavy track.
With this, there not a few nu metal in ‘Catharsis’, like a “Triple Beaam” or “Psychotic”. Sometimes Robb isn’t sing, but pronounce a recitative. Well, he said a long ago that he listen to rap music also, and it can’t be said that it’s bad.
There is only one ballad in this album, “Behind A Mask”. But it’s greatly played, lyrical and has an excellent acoustic solo.
Also I want to say something about a song “Bastards”. Rather, it’s not a song, but a loud and clear statement (on this background it’s very funny to read those who write that there is no passion in ‘Catharsis’). And yes, you can disagree with Robb in his political views, but also you can put the politics away for a minute and listen how from simple four chords country song musicians made a little poppy, but powerful and memorable track.
In general, the main problem with ‘Catharsis’, as for me, it there are too much experiments in one album. And it’s went too easy in the end. Well, ‘Americana’ in its time had the same problem with a lots of experiments in one album, and the ‘Black Album’, which wasn’t kicked only by the lazy ones, not only brought to Metallica world fame (I’m not talking about metalheads now), but also opened a whole world of heavy music for many people. Will the ‘Catharsis’ do the same? Probably, no. We live in a different time now. But this does not detract from its merits at all.
‘Catharsis’ was released on January, 26 via Nuclear Blast.
P.S. I can’t believe that it’s already the second review this month, where I’m trying to call to separate music and politics. Is it me so f**ked up, or this world f**ked up totally?