Bloodstone & Diamonds
Label: Nuclear Blast
On their eighth studio set in two decades, without ever managing to sound especially epic, Oakland's consistently retail-friendly Machine Head stretch seven of 12 tracks pass the six-minute mark. This allows them time to take breaks from yelling at people to noodle around, often in quasi-symphonic fashion. The two longest songs, "Sail into the Black" and state-of-America protest "In Comes the Flood," veer towards gothic dark metal; other cuts set metaphors about drowning to sickly moans and water-treading modern rock. But mostly, per usual, they seem like bullies heaving hammers at your head.