Release Date: December 30, 2003
Reviewed by Scott Olivenbaum

For months and months, word from Europe said that the new Machine Head album was astounding. Fans and press alike said that the band had produced a new disc that was a return to the raw power and aggression of the San Francisco thrasher’s first two full-length releases. Yeah, sure.

Europe is home to people that hold David Hasselhoff as a music genius. So who in their right mind would have thought that the Euros were actually right?!? The scary thing is that they were.

Through The Ashes Of Empires is an uncompromising, raw return to power for Machine Head. The troubles that the band went through following the release of Supercharger had looked like they would sink the group but the Bay Area band is back in full force. Charging guitars power the aural assault while gravely vocals bellow their way through tortured emotions.

Throughout the album, lead singer and guitarist Rob Flynn struggles with abuse, alcohol and the unavoidable (death). Some of the songs run together, and the band isn’t quite pushing the boundaries of modern music, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that Machine Head has returned to form with a powerful batch of songs that will enhance the band’s already incredible live shows.

From “Left Unfinished” to “Elegy” to “All Falls Down”, Through The Ashes Of Empires is full of driving thrash metal that translates amazingly live. This return to form makes Machine Head a must-see concert – the band was always better experienced in person – but the new songs will serve to enhance Machine Head’s already adrenaline-filled set list. Oh, and to those Europeans, thanks for the heads up.

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