Machine Head – Catharsis (2018) Review


  1. Volatile
  2. Catharsis
  3. Beyond the Pale
  4. California Bleeding
  5. Triple Beam
  6. Kaleidoscope
  7. Bastards
  8. Hope Begets Hope
  9. Screaming at the Sun
  10. Behind a Mask
  11. Heavy Lies the Crown
  12. Psychotic
  13. Grind You Down
  14. Razorblade Smile
  15. Eulogy

If I had to describe Catharsis in one word – it’d be ‘hodgepodge’. The album is like an album telling the story of the career of Machine Head itself. You have the quintessential Nu-metal track Triple Beam, which Robb Flynn and Machine Head need to avoid entirely please, while Grind You Down is like a continuation of The Burning Red and Heavy Lies The Crown could’ve easily been a B-side off of The Blackening.

I’ve kept an open mind through everything I’ve seen and heard come out of the MH camp about this one and now that I’ve finally listened to the album fully, my thoughts are as long and varied as the 75-minute journey itself.

Things kick off with a very solid meat-and-potatoes-like track called Volatile, which are all sorts of groovy-crunchy metal the band is known for. From there, however, things get experimental, weird and yes – nu-metal like it’s 1994.

To add to this curious mix of styles comes some experimentation that’s ballsy and interesting to see for the band. Hope Begets Hope is all sorts of pop punk while California Bleeding feels like a cut that demands to be on your local mainstream rock radio.

Unfortunately though, the album is predominately rap and nu-metal – something my 16-year-old self would dig, but as I’ve grown, it just isn’t the music for me.

Add the 75-minute running time to this curious mix of styles and you have an album that definitely needs a trim. Most tracks are above the 4-minute mark and some definitely could’ve been slimmed down to 2 minutes. I’m not against a lengthy running time but when it’s full of a style I’ve grown out, it tends to grate.

The fact that the album closes with a slow and ponderous track called Eulogy further proves this album is more self-indulgence and filler then anything else.

All up, Catharsis is a mixed bag of Machine Head. I like some passages, some instrumentations, but it’s just not my jam. That and the damn thing needs a trim.


   J’s Verdict: ☆☆


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