The Blackening has all the ingredients: really good thrash riffs, excellent solos, catchy melodies, memorable choruses, a lot of diversity, compelling lyrics and well-written songs. Machine Head is as angry as ever, with cutting riffs and angst filled vocals. But that anger is perfectly balanced by hooks and melody.
Many songs are epic, with several clocking in near the ten minute mark. Even though they are long, there is little if any filler, no noodling and no pretentiousness at all. From acoustic interludes to mid tempo metal to all out thrash, this album has it all. Robb Flynn's vocals are mostly angry yells, but he also has more laid back vocal parts and even some melodic singing. His lyrics are very politically charged and make no bones about his unhappiness with what's going on in the world.
The Blackening grabs you from the first listen, but you appreciate the complexity and depth of what Machine Head is doing more and more with each spin.