Sunday, January 14, 2018

Album Review: Machine Head - Catharsis

Over the years, Machine Head has managed to keep themselves at the forefront of the modern metal scene. Whether rap metal, groove metal, epic metal, or whatever else seemed to be the big thing at the time, you could always count on Machine Head to be there, hopping on the bandwagon and getting most of the acclaim. I can't explain why that is, since I have never heard anything in Rob Flynn's music that has struck me as better than average, but the band has been around long enough to be one of the bigger names out there. But it does bring up an interesting question; what does a trend-exploiting band do when metal is no longer popular enough to have trends? We're about to find out.

Things get off to a terrible start with "Volatile", showing how little Flynn has grown up over the years. Over a riff that rips off Slipknot, the very first words we hear are "fuck the world". As he apes Corey Taylor throughout the entirety of the song, his lyrics don't ever seem to have grown beyond adolescence. Hearing a middle-aged man screaming "I'm sick of this shit" isn't cool, and it isn't funny either. It's just sad. And it drags down the entirety of heavy metal. You want to know why I've never called myself a metalhead? That song is why. I'm embarrassed by it. Rob Flynn isn't. That's scary.

It doesn't get any better through the SEVENTY-FIVE minutes of this album. On "California Bleeding" he whines about not caring about getting banned from Disneyland, and things being "whack". Then there's "Triple Beam", where he goes back to rapping in the verses. At that point, I think it's become clear that what I've been listening to is a mid-life crisis. Without anything new to leech off of, Rob Flynn doesn't know what to do with his band, so he is trying to throw everything he's ever done into one big blender, without realizing how it exposes him as a fraud. If there had ever been an identity behind the band's name, they could return to form at any point and have it make sense. But when Machine Head has always been a rip-off of a moment in time, there's nothing to return to. Machine Head is revealing there is no ghost inside the machine.

I would make a joke here about Flynn being an old man yelling at the clouds, but I don't have to. He's included a song here called "Screaming At The Sun", which is pretty much the same thing.

By the time he's singing "I'll take a shit at Mar-A-Lago while I'm drinking a beer", I can't help but feel sorry for Rob Flynn. The fact that he can be his age and release this record without feeling some degree of shame makes me nervous. There is such a startling lack of awareness about how pathetic he sounds rapping about drugs and booze at his age that I can hardly believe this is intended to be serious. But it is. There is something seriously wrong here that this record was written, recorded, and released without anyone stepping in to realize what a terrible idea it is.

"Catharsis" might have been free therapy for Rob Flynn, but it's one of the most painful to listen to albums in recent memory. I'm honestly shocked by what I heard. I couldn't have expected anything nearly this terrible.

1 comment:

  1. I don't remember Lemmy singing about John Locke's philosophy as he grew older, or Dave Mustaine developing an ethereal point of view about religions on his latest Megadeth albums. Machine Head is a metal band man, and I totally understand Flynn's will to gain new generations of kids full of angst trying to keep his band going. This album kaybe won't make a difference on metalheads on their 30's or 40's like I am and like surely you are, but a little dude on his fifteens and discovering the world may find it interesting. Is NOT an album for the die hard fans, that's for sure. IS a good album played with technic and some inspired riffs, I totally give him credit for at least trying that in a world where TRAP is becoming a musical genre among young brainless teens. Is NOT a good album but not because of the monothematic way in his lyrics, but because as you said, he's recycling his own music.