Thursday, April 19, 2007

I Can't Stop Listening to The Blackening

Prologue: My modus operandi for music is to download first, keep if I like it and buy later - on CD. I justify it because I get to listen to scores of music I wouldn't hear otherwise, avoid wasting money on CDs that I don't like and in the end reward the artists who entertain me for their efforts. I buy CDs because I like collecting them and because I like looking at the album artwork; I'm willing to pay the premium over buying mp3s (although not much more of a premium - $13.0 is my upper limit) because I want to be able to hold the music in my hands, look through the booklet and play the whole thing in my apartment's best stereo system. I feel the system works well and so far I'm guilt and lawsuit free.

Denouement: After seeing Machine Head debut tracks from The Blackening on stage a few weeks ago, I downloaded the complete album from my bittorrent service of choice and gave it a spin. An hour later I emerged, with the sense of something epic blowing through the back of my head, like a sonic double-tap to the temples. In other words, I was completely floored by Machine Head's continued progression; a line of development that, if you throw out every album between Burn My Eyes and Through the Ashes of Empires, describes an arc of awesome that climbs in geometric fashion to the heights of enjoyment.

Not only is The Blackening that good - I can't stop listening to it. It's become my fall back album when I don't know what to listen to, when I don't want to think about picking an album and I don't want to trust my ears to a computer's shuffling instincts. It's been a rare day in these past three weeks when I haven't listened to The Blackening at least once; feeding all eight glorious tracks through my headphones twice in a day isn't unheard of. If you have any interest whatsoever in this band, checking out The Blackening would be a very rewarding plan.

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