‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’ is already Machine Head’s eighth album and once again it features plenty of the band’s signature style mixture of killer riffs and amazing solos on a foundation of catchy groove metal. In spite of the maximum riffage this eighth effort is unlikely to go down in history as one of the band’s best. For just about any other metal band an album like ‘Bloodstone & Diamonds‘ would have been an amazing effort. Machine Head’s luxury problem to this day is that the band set the bar unreasonably high with their 1994 debut album ‘Burn My Eyes’ and has rarely been able to sound that good since.
The album kicks off with the single ‘Now We Die’ which features some of that fantastic trademark groove metal that the band has become known for. The cliché lyrics sound like a heavy metal-spoof out of a comedy skit, which diminishes the song’s impact. ‘Killers & Kings’, the only track of the album the band played live on their most recent tour, is full speed ahead thrash metal. Third track ‘Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones’ is strong but a bit long at 6 minutes, and this is followed by the third single of the album, the 7 minute long ‘Night Of The Long Knives’, which features a melodic powermetal sound. By this point Robb Flynn’s key weakness as a songwriter reveals itself once more: the Machine Head-frontman seems to be convinced that a 7 or 8 minute song is always better than a 4 or 5 minute song, even if nothing new happens after 4 minutes except playing the chorus for another few minutes. This issue also affected the otherwise well-received album 2007 ‘The Blackening’. Just like that album, ‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’ is presented with beautiful mysterious artwork featuring ominous medieval drawings.
Flynn’s experiments with ballady slower paced songs are another weakness of ‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’. The intro for the 8 minute long ‘Sail Into The Black’ is half the song, and songs like ‘Beneath The Silt’ and ‘The Damage Inside’ comes across as fillers. ‘Eyes Of The Dead’ and ‘In Comes The Flood’ also start off slow but here the listener’s patience is rewarded with some great solo’s and signature-style groove metal respectively!
Hardcore fans will no doubt be pleased with the band’s latest effort since ‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’ is still a good metal album. But from “Machine Fucking Head”, we expect much more than just good.
‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’ is released on Nuclear Blast Records on November the 7th.