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Record Review

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After Machine Head burst to the front of the pack with Burning Red, a high-octane blueprint for nü-metal that wasn't wimpy like Crazy Town or pandering like Linkin Park, it seemed the band's highly anticipated follow-up was destined to put it over the top.

But while Supercharger is a great album, making many critics' best-of lists for heavy discs in 2001, its unfortunate release just after Sept. 11 may have been a contributing factor to its getting lost in the collective shuffle. And the opening refrain, "In times of war, you must prepare for peace. In times of peace, you must prepare for war," makes one feel a bit odd in light of the times.

Still, Machine Head manages to walk the line between satisfying the old-school heavies and reaching out to the high school kids. "American High," "Bulldozer," "White Knuckle Blackout!" and "Crashing Around You" are powerful tracks showcasing Robert Flynn's talent for the rap breakdown without sounding like he's ready for "TRL". The production is as slick and in-your-face as that on Burning Red, and its extreme similarity in style to the last one may turn out to be more burden than boon.

In the end, Supercharger takes absolutely no chances, even while it provides a disturbing comfort to anyone looking to be crushed in a positive way.

Machine Head plays the Masquerade Fri., Feb. 1.

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