The almighty Bay Area thrash gods Machine Head have been teasing 3-track single ‘Arrows in Words from the Sky’ for a little while now, and today they’ve finally unleashed it unto the world. You’ll need to set aside around fifteen minutes in the calendar for this one, it’s long, but it’s worth the listen.
In the midst of COVID lockdowns, social media engagement and more, Machine Head have been waiting for the world to open up again, just ask vocalist Rob Flynn who’s made it very clear in his frequent Facebook ‘General Journals: Diary of a Frontman… And Other Ramblings’ posts (here‘s his most recent one). The band have done Facebook live sessions where they’ve jammed and engaged with fans and messed around, but now the band are getting serious with their brand new extended single ‘Arrows in Words From the Sky’.
Alright let’s get stuck into tearing this extended single apart, or at least giving it a whirl on this lovely #NewMusicFriday. The first (song) of the single is titled ‘Become the Firestorm’ and is immediately thrashy. Flynn bursts into the track spitting out lyrics across Machine Head‘s signature sound. There are bouts of clean vocals on the song, which – we’ll leave for you to judge for yourselves, it could be a bit hit and miss as compared to the band’s strongly-executed clean vocals historically. There’s a really nice 80s thrash instrumental section towards the end of this track which is like Machine Head meets Slayer in a way. It’s definitely great to hear chapter 1 of 3 in this new single, but it certainly has a lot going on.
The second of three tracks on the single is called ‘Rotten’ and things pick up a bit. Flynn’s front and centre with this one with an opening rap-metal vocal section which breaks down to a rhythmic section. The chorus is a real head-banger and all the entire band step up for it. The song is a real journey as the pace has its ebbs and flows, with that consistent chorus. The final minute is kind of reminiscent of The Blackening era which leaves you wondering what the title-track of the single is going to be like.
Finally, the ominous ‘Arrows in Words from the Sky’ commences with Flynn’s signature clean-vocal which is welcomed as compared to the clean-vocal from earlier on. The 6-minute track is definitely an adventure so buckle up. The first minute has Flynn continue with clean vocals in the driver’s seat. The band kicks in as he continues, with a slower ballad type pace, which works really nicely after a couple of heavily thrashy songs. This is a really great side to Machine Head that we’ve always loved. Flynn’s gruff singing along with the band’s steady instrumental signature sound is exactly what we wanted to hear, in the lead-up to an extended no-vocal section – this is truly the highlight of the extended single. And, wait for it – the rollercoaster gets to its peak and then roars down with everything crushing into a heavy breakdown, as Rob roars with tuned-down guitars and blistering drums – it’s pretty lovely. The band restore their steady energy for the track to finish, and leaves you wanting to start again and listen to the whole single with a refreshed point of view.
…. and breathe – so that’s the new Machine Head single ‘Arrows in Words from the Sky’.
Words by Ricky Aarons (rickysaul90)
Check out Machine Head‘s 3-track single ‘Arrows in Words from the Sky’ here.
Machine Head – Arrows in Words From the Sky tracklisting
1. Become the Firestorm
3. Arrows in Words From the Sky