My first exposure to Oakland’s Machine Head was waaaaay back in 1994 when the now classic Burn My Eyes was released. I was on the Roadrunner Records mailing list and occasionally got postcards about new releases (Yes, regular old snail mail used to inform people about new music). I remember getting one in the mail for some band called “Machine Head” which featured the cool Dave McKean cover art on the front with the band/release info on the back. Cut to my next visit to a local Strawberries (They were a record store) in which I procured my very own cassette copy without hearing a note (Again, pre-streaming, internet, etc). While “Davidian” caused some head bobbing on my drive home, it was “Old” that really got me. It’s that lead-in bass groove by now departed Adam Duce combined with Robb Flynn’s signature riffage and the way Flynn shifted from a spoken word to a growl into this massive chorus when he sang that set this band apart from everyone I was listening to at the time.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
I’ve picked up every album they’ve released and seen them numerous times. I consider The Burning Red and Supercharger diamonds in the rough and championed Through the Ashes of Empires by repeatedly playing my import copy over and over when I worked in a record store (And went on to buy the “domestic” copy when they re-signed with Roadrunner). Live, they have never failed to astound. They’ve completely owned audiences wherever they play and I’ve been lucky enough to bear witness to many of those Massachusetts appearances starting with seeing Snot’s Lynn Strait (Snot opened the show) getting then guitarist Logan Mader high on stage at Boston’s Axis to seeing MH show up a then fellow RR band who were drunk and sloppy at the Worcester stop of the “Road Rage” package tour to seeing them start one year opening for Metallica and end with opening for Megadeth and Heaven and Hell. Whether it’s at clubs or theaters or stadiums or clubs again (Their current “An Evening With”), Machine Head absolutely deliver.
On their most recent album, Bloodstone & Diamonds, Machine Head hone their sound even more. From the opening one-two punch of “Now We Die” and “Killers & Kings” through to the piano/chant-laden “Sail Into The Black” and Pantera/Crowbar groove sludge of “Beneath The Silt”, Machine Head continue to raise the heavy metal bar for themselves and for others.
But wait, that’s not all! In support of the new album (Released in November via Nuclear Blast), Flynn and co. have scheduled a North American tour billed as “An Evening With” which puts the band with no openers and playing at clubs. Yes, clubs! If you’ve ever wanted to see Machine Head but haven’t yet, this is the time.
Bloodstone & Diamonds is out now via MH’s new home on Nuclear Blast. The band will take the stage at Brighton Music Hall for a sold out show on January 31st. For more dates and info, head here.