American metal giants, Machine Head, have released the second single from their new album. That single is the title track of the new album, Catharsis. Catharsis. Catharsis is due out on the 26th of January, 2018 via Nuclear Blast.
The new album will be the band’s 9th since their famous debut, Burn My Eyes, way back in 1994. After that we got the brilliantly brutal The More Things Change. A strong as the band were in their early days, they have reached new heights in popularity over the last decade. It all started after the band returned from a troublesome time in 2003 with the album Through the Ashes of Empires. An album that, in my opinion, is their best album release. They followed that up with the masterpiece, The Blackening. Even after that we got the excellent Unto the Locust and then finally, 2014’s Bloodstone & Diamonds. You can read our thoughts on all of those by clicking the links.
Back to Catharsis though and, after warning fans that the new album would not be the heaviest, the first single dropped and was brutal. Beyond the Pale is hard, heavy and in your face and you can read our thoughts on it here. So, either Rob was joking about the heaviness of the album or maybe Beyond the Pale will turn out to be the only heavy track on the album? Let’s find out.
Catharsis is 6 minutes and 16 seconds long and comes with a music video that looks like it was shot in Silent Hill’s mental institute. You can see that video at the links below this article. Catharsis has an eerie, gothic intro before some muffled instruments gently join in. Short blasts from the drums that sound like machine gun fire, slightly muffled give us another example of why Dave McClain is one of the best drummers in the business.
Robb Flynn mutters a gentle vocal line before bang, Phil Demmel rips into life with a solid riff. The instruments start building before a couple more clean vocal lines build into a shout from Robb. Here comes the heaviness. A fast riff, blasting drums and Jared MacEachran’s bass play out a crunching riff and beat while Robb shouts and roars at speed over the top. The verse ends as abruptly as it starts, suddenly stopping and leaving the guitar standing alone as we go back to cleanly sung, muffled vocals.
It is an awesome start to a song, pulling you in different directions but the chorus that follows elevates it even more. A glorious sounding guitar, immaculate drums and a catchy as hell chorus rattle out perfection. That leads straight back into a heavy verse to get those heads banging again. Another chorus and then we move into a kind of breakdown section that builds into a roar of “Can You Feel My Catharsis”. The riff that follows this shout is banging. Pure unadulterated groove inspired brutality. But, as good as it is, the constant shout of that same line over the top, “Can You Feel My Catharsis”, actually takes away from it a little.
We move from this breakdown section into a solo which is okay. It is also very short, by Machine Head standards at least. This solo leads into the emphatic chorus again, repeated a few times. It is one of those choruses that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck. As the song ends it finds time for one more round of heaviness with a repeat of the breakdown section. Again, a crushing riff and furious drum rhythm end the song with ferocity though I don’t think they needed to have “Can You Feel My Catharsis” shouted over and over during it.
You can preview the track on Apple Music below –
So another song that seems to go against what Robb said originally. Yes, this isn’t the heaviest stuff Machine Head have ever done but heaviness isn’t always about speed. This track has occasional heavy riffs but has an emotional heaviness attached. It sounds deep and feels important. I like it. I like it a lot actually. There are a couple bits I would have preferred different though so it isn’t perfect. I love their long, winding dual solos so I find this short one a little bit less inspiring. I also really don’t see why the heavy riff breakdowns couldn’t just be musical. It doesn’t feel necessary for that line to be repeated over the top of them. Just let me hear the music and mosh.
Minor things though as overall I think it is a well written song with an exceptional chorus, amazing drum sections and decent riffs. I will be playing this one a lot, despite it not being quite as good as Beyond the Pale. Two songs from the new album out so far and I am really happy with what I am hearing. Catharsis, the album, is sounding like it will be another brilliant one. I can’t wait to hear more.
Check out Catharsis over at Machine Head’s YouTube channel here. You can preorder Catharsis, the album, from Nuclear Blast here. Machine Head are out on tour in support of the album soon too so check here for dates and venues. Check out Machine Head on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more information on them. Be sure to like and follow them while you are there.
You can pick up Catharsis and more from Machine Head at the links below.
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Catharsis by Machine Head (Catharsis)
The Final Score - 8/10