During these turgid times, the term epic gets attached to many items erroneously, often times a genuine misnomer, still others just plain off the mark. The sixth studio offering by Bay Area metal unit Machine Head smashes the pretenses and delivers an eight-track album that unquestionably merits the praise of being called an epic release. From the opening strains of "Clenching the Fists of Dissent", Robb Flynn and company take you on a tumultuous and triumphant tour through a 61 minute journey ensconced with classic metallic histrionics and an imminence embroiled with seething rage. Complete with venomously delivered vocals, a flurry of blistering guitar solos, meaty riffs aplenty, and a return to the jackhammering rhythms that made the metal realm first take notice , Machine Head's has officially come full circle from their early days, tossing a dash of Flynn's prior band, Vio-lence in for good measure. Emblazoned with the kind of elegant brutality that only Slayer and Metallica have been able to pull off before now, THE BLACKENING is a sinewy writhing beast, able to attack your senses with war-mongering fury and pure metallic glory in full gestation.