Say you’re having a dream, and Machine Head’s bus crashes into Limp Bizkit’s in the middle of the ’90s. It results in an awful blend of generic rap metal that has no soul. Well, I’m afraid that dream has come true with Catharsis, Machine Head’s new album.
Although the entire album isn’t “rap metal,” the material that is along with the weak, “top 40” songs overshadow the decent material. Rob Flynn, in his overzealous, egotistical little way, has alienated most of the Machine Head fanbase made since 2003’s Through the Ashes of Empires, an album that redeemed the band from their previous release, the disastrous Supercharger.
“Volatile” opens with a fierce “Fuck the world” bark, then embarks on a true groove that the band does well. Flynn has always been good at articulating his anger, but it is played-up here. The title track begins the downward spiral on the album. It has Flynn’s trademark vocals, but the electronic beats and samples are over the top. It wanders to and fro without direction. “Beyond the Pale” is one of the better tracks, including a familiar feel and impressive guitar work. “California Bleeding” is weird to the point of being corny at times, and “Triple Beam” is fucking ridiculous. It’s dated and unbecoming of Machine Head at this point in their career. “Bastards” is another “What the fuck?” song with its odd, folky feel that comes out of left field. “Screaming at the Sun” is a cool tune with a creepy, haunting chorus. “Behind a Mask” follows the same direction of the last two albums, Damage Inside and Darkness Within. It’s dark and deep. “Heavy Lies The Crown” is the best song on Catharsis, and it builds to a superb crescendo after eight minutes of epic Machine Head metal. “Psychotic” follows the same lame formula as the title track, and “Grind You Down” is nothing more than the band doing an impression of Slipknot. It’s doesn’t leave a very good impression.
Catharsis takes Machine Head 10 steps back in their career. It’s a pathetic attempt at discovering some sort of alternate version of the band, and they fail miserably. As if the attempts at rap metal aren’t enough, the corniness of a bunch of 50-year-old guys singing about cocaine, eating pussy, and drinking takes it over the top.
Catharsis is out January 26 on Nuclear Blast Records. Buy it here!