Through the Ashes of Empires
|Through the Ashes of Empires|
|Studio album by|
|Released||December 16, 2003|
|Machine Head chronology|
|Singles from Through the Ashes of Empires|
|Rock Hard (de)||9.5/10|
Through the Ashes of Empires is the fifth studio album by groove metal band Machine Head. The band moved away from the nu metal genre featured on their previous two albums, and towards the style of their debut Burn My Eyes and their second album The More Things Change... It was released in the UK, Europe and Australia on the Roadrunner Records International label on December 16, 2003. At this stage, Machine Head still did not have an American record deal, having parted ways with Roadrunner Records US after the Supercharger album was released. Through The Ashes of Empires was such a success that Roadrunner Records US, in an unprecedented move, quickly offered Machine Head a new contract and the album finally reached North America on April 20, 2004. This album was also the first album to feature guitarist Phil Demmel, until his departure in 2018.
Because guitarist Ahrue Luster had left the band due to creative differences, the album was written by the remaining three band members, with then-temporary guitarist Phil Demmel only joining in for the recording sessions. When asked about the writing process for the album, vocalist and guitarist Robert Flynn said:
- "...when Ahrue quit MH to go join Nickelback wannabes Juggernaut, we made a decision to start writing as a three-piece. We didn't want to go through the whole 'try out' process, and see if some new guy would fit."
A special edition of the album was also released, containing a second disc with early demo recordings of songs from TTAOE as well as a short video of Machine Head in the studio during the recording of the album. The band discusses the gear used to record the album as well as various issues relating to it.
The band recorded an additional song, "Seasons Wither", for the North American release of the album as a measure of compensation for the American fans for having to wait so long; it was subsequently released internationally as a b-side on the "Days Turn Blue to Gray" single. According to guitarist Demmel, the song also gives an indication of the direction the band would take with their next album, The Blackening.
In 2013, Robb Flynn released a demo for the unused track "Pins and Needles", which the band rejected for being "one of the worst songs [Flynn has] ever written when it comes to [his] vocals and vocal ideas". Despite the group's negativity towards the demo, it would later be rewritten to become the Roadrunner United track "Army of the Sun" with Tim Williams from Vision of Disorder on vocals.
The album can be considered an encapsulation of the band at that point, stylistically concompassing all four of their previous works. It has the melodicism of The Burning Red and Supercharger, the darker, heavier groove of The More Things Change and the sheer aggression of Burn My Eyes. Lyrically, the album is rooted in stories of personal struggles, triumphs, morbidity, and abuse.
The album has since proven to be a success with critics, music charts and fans. The album has been well-embraced as an excellent return to form both musically and lyrically. The difficult circumstances under which the album was recorded was documented on their concert DVD Elegies.
In 2005, Through the Ashes of Empires was ranked number 311 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.
|1.||"Imperium"||Robert Flynn||Robert Flynn, Dave McClain||6:41|
|2.||"Bite the Bullet"||Robert Flynn||Robert Flynn||3:21|
|3.||"Left Unfinished"||Robert Flynn||Robert Flynn||5:45|
|4.||"Elegy"||Robert Flynn||Robert Flynn, Dave McClain||3:55|
|5.||"In the Presence of My Enemies"||Robert Flynn||Robert Flynn, Phil Demmel||7:07|
|6.||"Days Turn Blue to Gray"||Robert Flynn||Robert Flynn, Phil Demmel||5:29|
|7.||"Vim"||Robert Flynn, Adam Duce||Robert Flynn, Dave McClain||5:12|
|8.||"Seasons Wither" (US edition bonus track)||Robert Flynn, Adam Duce||Robert Flynn, Phil Demmel||6:18|
|9.||"All Falls Down"||Robert Flynn||Robert Flynn, Dave McClain||4:29|
|10.||"Wipe the Tears"||Robert Flynn, Adam Duce||Robert Flynn, Dave McClain||3:54|
|11.||"Descend the Shades of Night"||Robert Flynn||Robert Flynn, Dave McClain||7:46|
"Seasons Wither" did not appear on the original worldwide release, but was added to the US release to make up for the delayed release; in this edition, the song appears between "Vim" and "All Falls Down".
|1.||"Bite the Bullet" (Demo)||3:51|
|2.||"Left Unfinished" (Demo)||4:30|
|4.||"All Falls Down" (Demo)||4:29|
|5.||"Descend the Shades of Night" (Demo)||3:55|
|6.||"The Blood, the Sweat, the Tears (Live)" (Video)||4:16|
|7.||"Through the Ashes of Empires Sessions" (Video)||18:30|
- Robb Flynn - lead vocals, rhythm guitar, guitar solo on "Left Unfinished", 2nd guitar solo on "Vim"
- Adam Duce - bass, backing vocals
- Dave McClain - drums
- Phil Demmel - lead guitar
|Austrian Albums Chart||56|
|Dutch Albums Chart||65|
|French Albums Chart||44|
|German Albums Chart||24|
|Swedish Albums Chart||41|
|Swiss Albums Chart||80|
|UK Album Chart||77|
|The Billboard 200||88|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||60,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
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- [...], Rock Hard (Hrsg.). [Red.: Michael Rensen. Mitarb.: Götz Kühnemund] (2005). Best of Rock & Metal die 500 stärksten Scheiben aller Zeiten. Königswinter: Heel. p. 88. ISBN 3-89880-517-4.
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- "Machine Head - Through The Ashes Of Empires". dutchcharts.nl.
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- "British album certifications – Machine Head – Through the Ashes of Empires". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Through the Ashes of Empires in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.