Machine Head - Bloodstone & Diamonds

By Sebastian Mackay

Released Monday November 10th, 2014 - Nuclear Blast Records

I've never been into Machine Head (they probably used to scare me or something) but Bloodstone & Diamonds is my gateway drug. The fire breathing and mosh pit igniting Night Of Long Knives is to heavy music what Billy Mays was to Oxiclean while Now We Die is what Lindsay Lohan was to tragedy.

What I've always loved about these kinds of bands is that no matter how heavy the music, how aggressive or twisted the lyrics there's always a group of really sweet soft spoken dudes behind the whole thing - like when Toto pulls back the curtain and reveals the great Wizard of OZ.

And just like the wizard they take their black magic very seriously (Sail Into The Black is an anthem for pirates. You can see the mist across the ocean and the pale moonlight coming down onto the ship's deck. All the while a skeleton crew heave on ropes while the slaves scrub the deck. Each of them signing, "we sail into the black, oh we sail into the black.").

But unlike other bands of the genre Machine Head's level of commitment to their black magic isn't laughable. It's beautifully crafted and throughout the album there's an element of danger, something sinister lurking between the riffs and the brief seconds between the songs.

Each track only heightens the fear and the sinister Eyes Of The Dead is like bodies hanging from nooses over churning seas. Machine Head's black magic has brought the day of reckoning.