Essential albums: Through The Ashes Of Empires

Putting it politely Machine Head’s fourth effort Supercharger was a complete shitfuck, from there they entered a downward spiral and got dropped by Roadrunner Records.

So when it came to recording a new record (without any label initially) the San Francisco quartet, now with guitarist Phil Demmel, needed to set about creating an album nothing less than breathtaking to prove their worth – and they did that.
Opener, “Imperium” is possibly one of the greatest pure metal tunes ever penned. In 6 minutes the mighty Machine Head of yore was reborn with ambition to bludgeon. “Imperium” is relentlessly punishing and no MH set list has been without it since.
On Ashes Robb Flynn exorcised many of his demons, particularly on “Left Unfinished” & “Days Turn Blue To Gray”; two heart wrenching pounders. Dealing with childhood abuse, drug addiction and neglect, “Left Unfinished” and “Days…” accompanied by fine riffs and a stunning vocal performance made them simply amazing.

It wasn’t until this effort that Machine Head proved that they were capable of something totally awe-inspiring. A mini epic, “In The Presence Of My Enemies” hints at the monumental stride that Machine Head would hit on The Blackening – A punishing, epic number.
Ambitious and daring, closer “Descend The Shades Of Night” had the potential to be a mass failure. However it proved to be one of the most epic, grandiose songs ever written, put frankly. The theme of death and mortality runs throughout, “Descend The Shades Of Night” is real, incalculable emotion.
Through The Ashes Of Empires was Machine Head’s battle cry and immediately became contenders for metal’s elite, a place they unsurprisingly found themselves in the coming years following extensive touring and the undisputed masterpiece The Blackening.

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