I must begin this review by pointing out that I am a big Machine Head fan, and have been since Burn My Eyes came out in '94. I have most of their albums,and I've seen them live so many times I've lost count. I preordered the deluxe edition of this with the dvd, so I think it's fair to say I genuinely wanted to, and intended to, like this album a lot. Unfortunately, I did not.
The album begins with about a minute of the vocalist droning two words over and over(Someday sunny someday sunny someday sunny etc..) It's truly annoying even on the first listen; on subsequent listens it's unbearable, but it's part of the first track so you can't skip it(if you look up the track on Youtube, that intro is cut off it). After listening to the album twice, I had to edit that out myself to ever listen to the song/album again. It's a truly terrible way to start an album, and I really wondered what they were thinking.
Unfortunately the rest of the album told me what they were thinking - they were going to do whatever it took to pad out the songs and make them as long as possible. The songs on here are just too long, and they get boring fast. Make no mistake, I like long songs when done properly. I'm a big fan of Opeth and Justice is my favourite Metallica album. But these songs on this album are just one riff after another with no real dynamics or purpose. Just piling riffs on top of each other just to make the songs long. I find my mind wandering off really fast, and having to force myself to listen to the songs. And I'll be honest - a really good riff or melody will show up once in awhile and grab my attention - and then the next riff comes along and it doesn't fit, and the song goes nowhere, yet keeps on going.
I read a Machine Head interview where one of the bandmembers stated that they don't deliberately set out to make 10 minute songs, they just do what feels right for the song. When you listen to this album you can tell that's totally untrue. They deliberately made the songs long for the sake of long, and ruined them. There are some really good ideas in this album, buried underneath the musical clutter, but they are overshadowed by the way everything drags on.
If this were an album of 5 minute songs, concentrating on the best ideas and building songs around them instead of trying to turn everything into an epic, it would be a good album. I bet someone out there could edit this into some realy good 4 or 5 minute songs(there are fan edits of movies, so why not albums?) It occurred to me that Machine Head is trying to write And Justice For All when they'd be better suited to writing the Black Album. Shorter songs that are more to the point. More groove, more crush, less attempt at dynamics.
It has been a year and I don't listen to this album at all. I put it in once at about 11 months, and it just truly bored me. This does not stand up to their other works.