"Bloodstone & Diamonds", the new album from San Francisco Bay area metallers MACHINE HEAD, sold around 18,200 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 21 on The Billboard 200 chart.
The band's previous CD, 2011's "Unto The Locust", opened with around 17,000 units to land at No. 22.
MACHINE HEAD's 2007 effort, "The Blackening", registered a first-week tally of just under 15,000 to enter the chart at No. 54.
The group's 2004 CD, "Through The Ashes Of Empires", premiered with less than 12,000 copies to debut at No. 88.
"Bloodstone & Diamonds" was released on November 10 via Nuclear Blast Entertainment. The CD was produced by MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn and Juan Urteaga, and like the last seven of eight MACHINE HEAD albums, was masterfully mixed by Colin Richardson. Additional tracking, editing, and mixing was done with Andy Sneap (MEGADETH, EXODUS, TESTAMENT, ARCH ENEMY) and Steve Lagudi.
Comments Flynn: "'Bloodstone & Diamonds' is MACHINE HEAD's first 'global' hit record, bullying its way into the Top 20 in pretty much every territory around the world, with a handful of Top 40s, and more than a few Top 10 chart positions worldwide! In the U.S., it's our fourth album in a row to sell more than (and chart higher than) the previous album, and all at a time in which CD sales have continually dropped an average of 40% between each of our releases. AND, most importantly, it was done with Nuclear Blast Entertainment, a completely 100% independently owned and operated record label. That's right, MACHINE HEAD had better first-week sales on an independent label than we did with the last three albums, all of which were through a major label! I cannot stress that enough! It is fuckin HUGE! Fuck YES, Head Cases!"
"Bloodstone & Diamonds" first-week chart positions:
United States: #21
Regarding the musical direction of "Bloodstone & Diamonds", Flynn told Metal Hammer magazine: "There's definitely a lot of urgency on this record. It's a really heavy record arid there's a dark and evil vibe to a lot of it, but I feel like there's more of a rock vibe in there too. It's stripped down at times, and I like that. I think that sense of urgency has carried over from the demos we did, which were all done very quickly and spontaneously. We tried to keep that spontaneous vibe on the album."
He continued: "At one point we started getting really anal on the tracks and spending tons of time on stuff, and we'd listen back and say, 'You know what? This doesn't have the vibe of the demos.' The demos were so fuckin' frantic, so we changed our mindset and now it's a little bit looser. Some of the guitar takes are basically live. Often, 40 or 50 percent of a song came from a spontaneous, live take and that's killer! It adds energy and makes the songs feel alive."
On the topic of the "Bloodstone & Diamonds" album title, Flynn said: "Without getting too philosophical on ya, bloodstone and diamonds represent two of the hardest materials on earth. It is also a lyric from the opening track of the album, 'Now We Die'.
"In many cultures, the bloodstone has been used as an amulet to protect against evil, and is the symbol of justice. Diamonds are the hardest natural material on earth (which is how we feel about our music), and it also represents the diamond logo I drew 22 years ago (in my wife's apartment on Dover St. in Oakland) that has become the symbol for the band."
"Now We Die" official video: