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  • Writer's pictureR’nR With Rylo

Spin #117 : The Blackening : Machine Head


Welcome to another Sunday Spin and a special one this weekend, because it also happens to fall on my 35th birthday. I'm not too fussed with birthdays these days, but it is nice seeing our two kids plan a theme and get excited decorating the house with balloons etc. Our son has been busy keeping birthday surprises and acting like it's his birthday. I'll have to write about what happened on my actual birthday next week, because I've had to spin this one a little bit earlier than Sunday. I think we are planning a nice drive or lunch out somewhere, so I pre-planned to get ahead. Plus, I don't think our children are ready for Machine Head - 'The Blackening'. I definitely know Night Kat Kiz won't be enjoying this one and will probably say, "it sounds angry". Maybe that is why I gravitated towards it back in 2007 when it was released. Fresh from finishing high school and being a bit unsure with direction can become easier with good music. It truly is a face melting album that punches hard. I HIGHLY suggest that you get a decent set of headphones or a good quality sound system to play this one on. I've spun this record on our loungeroom system and it almost broke the house in half! Only kidding, but it was such an enjoyable listen.

I've been on the look out for when it would get a re-press and jumped on it as soon as I heard it was limited to 1000 worldwide. Luckily, I was able to get this back in 2021 and snagged number 297. Noticeably the cover artwork has been re-worked for the release and shows a demon devouring sinners, titled 'Lucifero'. I prefer the original image but like that they have included it for the lyric sheet artwork at least. This album gets a lot of praise and was voted the album of the decade (can't remember what chart, but it is widely loved). Sadly, the band cops a lot of shit and I really don't understand why. Robb Flynn is lead vocalist and guitar, Adam Duce is on bass guitar, Phil Demmel is lead guitar (now with Kerry King) and Dave McLain is hitting the kit. The two LPs are splattered with black and white over a clear base which matches the silver and black artwork across the album. There is quite a bit of detail in the imagery used on the gatefold and slipcases and it has a silvery shine to it. Name a heavier album that you can understand the lyrics being sung by the vocalist? When I first listened to this album, I remember sitting there with my mouth open and thinking, "whhhhooooaa". The initial sounds of 'CLENCHING THE FISTS OF DISSENT' and 'BEAUTIFUL MOURNING' easily get you pumped up for anything.

The most obvious choice for favourite song would be 'AESTHETICS OF HATE' because of how brutal the back story is. I get that people can have opinions and write about them online but talking ill of the dead wasn't appreciated by Flynn. An article was written about Darrell Abbott a.k.a Dimebag Darrell and basically said that it was good that he was dead (tragically murdered by a fan while performing on stage). Flynn felt an intense rage about what was written regarding his friend and that is how this song was born. You can hear the pain and emotion in his vocals here. No, my favourite song now would either be 'NOW I LAY THEE DOWN' or 'HALO'.

The melodic sounds mixed with the heaviness adds onto the '90s groove metal style and beefs it up so much more. I can see why this album is regarded as the pinnacle album from Machine Head and why it's still so important listening to it in 2024. I promise Flynn, I will show our little kids the true power of 'The Blackening' one day. On the original release the band added a few covers, 'HALLOWED BE THEY NAME' by Iron Maiden and 'BATTERY' by Metallica. I think they couldn't add the Metallica cover for this release due to licensing, but nice to see that one of the covers made the record. You'll also get to hear the raw power of a live Machine 'Fucking' Head performance. They are legendary for their onstage energy and I was bummed to have missed them on their most recent tour of Australia (Slaughter the MarTOUR). I know that they will keep producing the goods and return with a new album in the future.

As you can see in the image above, the number 297/1000 is printed at the bottom right side of the back cover. Nuclear Blast always put out a high quality product and it helps that they are passionate about the heavy metal scene. I was surprised that I selected two metal albums in consecutive weeks, but then again it is around my birthday, so maybe I was subconsciously giving myself an early birthday present. I do love all types of music and I admit that some albums get me really excited to place on our turntable. If you haven't bought yourself a copy of this album......I don't know where you can find one. They will probably re-press 'The Blackening' at some stage. I'm hoping that a few more of their earlier albums get a widespread release and that I can add them to the R'nR with Rylo collection.

The bass on this album is heavy, the clarity of the guitar work is ear splittingly crisp and the kick drum often makes me believe the kit is in the room with me. I tried listening to this on streaming during a trip to Sydney, but it wasn't the same. The track listing is well thought out and ends with, 'WOLVES' and 'A FAREWELL TO ARMS'. I have been lucky to listen to their albums without prejudice and can say that I enjoy all of them. Even the ones that don't get a lot of love have something to like on them. One worth listening is 'Catharsis'. It isn't ranked high in their catalogue sadly but is well worth a listen.

I had a nice moment outside with the kids while the Winter sunshine was out. We took some photos of our shadows and pretended to be a moose and kangaroo. I've also made more of an effort to create some good memories by dancing to the sound of the coffee machine as it prepares the delicious 'bean broth' or 'cream of bean broth'. Phrases that the cool kids say (Uncle Jazz and Night Kat Kiz). Hearing the kids laugh is so much fun and it balances out the negativity that seems to suffocate people's lives. I don't watch the news because it always seems to leave you flat and disappointed with the world and I already know what's behind that curtain. You need an outlet and mine is being the best husband, dad and son that I can be. It's tough and I definitely have days where I'm exhausted. I keep things in perspective and remind myself that I can only achieve so much. I can only give so much and I'm not much use to anyone if I'm burnt out. This month has tested me a lot and by the time we meet again next Sunday, I will have completed 3,249 push ups for the Push-Up challenge. I'm currently at 2,268 push ups at the time of writing this and already seeing positive changes in my body and energy levels.

What has been your favourite song from Machine Head's - 'The Blackening'?

Let us know below in the comments or on our social page. If you are looking at another album to check out from the band, then you need to hunt for 'Unto the Locust'. Writing down some things so that in the future I can look back on them and laugh about them. Maybe even use them to write a speech for a birthday or wedding, who knows. Our daughter will be 3 next month ( I feel like I've been saying that for ages now) and she keeps giving me the pout/sad face. I told her that if she keeps doing that, a bumblebee will come and sit on her bottom lip. Then I made a buzzing sound and she starts laughing. I'll never forget that little laugh. When you read this, I'll probably be eating birthday cake and having to lay at an angle, while the food digests. I hope that you enjoyed this week's 117th spin from the R'nR collection and opened your eyes to another classic record that you need to own. Soak up some Winter sun, take 30 minutes of meditation or 'me' time today and reach out to friends or family who might be doing it tough. Make sure to hug your loved ones!

Until our next Spin......

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