After the epic grandeur and perfection of The Blackening, Machine Head delivers Unto the Locust, an album that lives up to its deserved reputation. The band doesn’t waste ideas here or water down its best ones; it hits everything dead-on, and the welcomed complexity is a great relief for a genre often hampered by groups unable to break free from self-imposed rules and limits. At seven and a half minutes, “Locust”, like many tunes here, starts with melodic introspection before tearing the listener’s head off with vicious guitar riffing and demanding drum rhythms. “This Is the End” kicks up dirt while sneaking past some of the most intricate and tuneful guitar lines heard in modern metal. Produced by leader Robert Flynn, the sound is no-nonsense and in your face, like an intense closeup where one can make out every little scratch and instrumental piece. The special edition is an even greater value; it features three bonus cuts, including an acoustic, stripped-down take on the album’s most sensitive track, “Darkness Within”.