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Machine Head - Bloodstone and Diamonds

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For all the hate I hear vented on forums at Machine Head for being "unimaginative Metallica riff copying pish! Debut rocks but been downhill since, blah blah" I wonder if there are actually 2 bands with the same name and I am fortunate enough to be hearing the better version of the two?

2011's "Locust" was superb - patchy towards the end but so full of energy and pure raw metal intensity that to recognise it as anything other than a top notch release is ridiculous.  With Duce gone now you could be forgiven for thinking "Bloodstone & Diamonds" would be a sub-par effort made by a band struggling with the loss of such a key member.  Fuck no! The departure of founding bassist Duce has energised Machine Head and the new album is a monster, full of riffs, hooks, chops and (again) strings!  It's balanced to boot, the romp is mediated by some effective and deliberate pace changes be that mid song or to build a track.

In terms of a mainstream metal alb…