EP Review: Arrows in Words from the Sky by Machine Head (Nuclear Blast/Imperium Recordings)

Machine Head are back with a brand new chunk of music in the form of three tracks on a release titled Arrows in Words from the Sky, released on the 11th of June via Nuclear Blast.

It is the first extended release since the divisive album Catharsis back in 2018 though the band did release a few other singles in between then and now. They have also been very active on social media during these difficult months with plenty of live stream events under the banner of “Acoustic Happy Hour” or “Electric Happy Hour”. The band, currently definitely consisting of Robb Flynn and Jared MacEachern and apparently also Wacław Kiełtyka (Vog) from Decapitated and Matt Alston. Some times also Logan Mader and Chris Kontos. I don’t know, It’s confusing.

Machine Head Arrows in Words from the Sky band

What I do know is that these guys are one of my favourite bands and I have grown a little concerned over the band line up and output in recent years. That makes this release, like everyone of their releases, a mix of excitement and nervousness. Lets get into it and hope for music that connects with me.

The first track is called Become the Firestorm. It is a fast ad furious track with blasting drums and a punchy riff that bears just a little resemblance to the start of From This Day. It’s nice to have a heavy one, its catchy and a head banger. Jared’s vocals in the backing of the chorus are prominent are good and the chorus is catchy enough. It also bears some resemblance structurally to This is the End. Not complaining, that’s a banger but I kept picking that up. It’s decent, not brilliant, but decent.

Next up is Rotten and I really like this one. It has a nice groove to it, a fast and heavy song but with a strong flow and I like the vocals a lot. The riff has a serious chug to it and the drums are fire. The bass is nice and prominent and we have strong roaring and growling going on. Its definitely an angry Machine Head but still holds there signature moments whether in the groove, the fiery solo or the cleaner vocals in the run up to it. This is good metal.

We end on the title track, Arrows in Words from the Sky and this is a strong song. It is the most melodic song on the release and works really well. The clean vocals are great, the lyrics are mature and I love the little second line of lyrics that follows the lead. The verses build nicely and it feels like a big hitter. Little moments shine through in the backing melody, the excellent drum and bass rhythms and the menacing whispered section. That leads us nicely into a perfect little solo before we get a nice heavy roared section. It stops a bit more suddenly than I would have liked but back in the melody, I’m quickly comfortable again. It’s different for Machine Head, a sign of continuing growth perhaps and I couldn’t be more pleased for them, and me.

Arrows in Words from the Sky is a strong release and maybe a little showcase of Machine Head’s next evolution. 3 good songs, plenty of heaviness, good lyrical content and lashings of their signature groove and melody. More of this please!

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Grab yourself a copy of Arrows in Words from the Sky now at all the usual streaming platforms, here.

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Arrows in Words from the Sky by Machine Head (Nuclear Blast/Imperium Recordings)
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