Sunday, January 14, 2018
Album Review: Machine Head - Catharsis
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.