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Machine Head

If only I'd used MSN Messenger

Review by Craig Leahy

Alright man, this was a hard one.

This one took a while because yea, I listened to every single Machine Head album.
Let the gravity of that statement sink in for a minute.

I listened... to EVERY SINGLE... Machine Head album.

Okay, I’m gonna start this off with the story of when I first heard Machine Head. I used to frequent guitar player chat rooms on Yahoo Chat where 40+ year old men would play guitar into their onboard microphones to impress pre-teens like myself on the internet, it was like the late nineties equivalent of inviting people to like your band on Facebook for the third time. I was hanging around one day and I saw some guy talking about this band called Meshuggah and how they used seven string guitars that sounded like typewriters, I fucking HAD to hear this. I opened Morpheus and set a Meshuggah song called ‘Sickening’ downloading before school. When I got home I listened to it and it was the most fucking incredible thing I’d ever heard. It was punishing man, super precise thrash with hardcore influences full of so much actual aggression. Not long after that I ordered the Contradictions Collapse + None’ bundle. When the album finally came, I went straight to Sickening and it wasn’t even the same song. It wasn’t even the same fucking band. About 6 years later I heard Blood for Blood by Machine Head and it was that fucking song dude! Some asshole was trying to troll Meshuggah fans into listening to Machine Head, which in hindsight is fucking hilarious and it got me into Meshuggah. And Meshuggah fucking rule.

Okay, Machine Head. Ugh. Dude I wanted to enjoy this I swear to god. Machine Head are one of those bands that I really do want to like, I swear. But when 85% of everything they play is total fucking filler, that’s when you really start looking at yourself aye. Why am I doing this? Are natural harmonics even remotely dope? Should I have become a tradie so maybe I could actually like this?
It’s a hard fact that all tradies like Machine Head.

Now while Machine Head have certified bangers in their back catalogue. They hardout only have ONE solid album, and that album is Through the Ashes of Empires. Honestly, that album fucking rips, as long as you can put up with Robb Flynn writing lyrics entirely after kids have gone to sleep on his babysitting side job, the album is a real good time. Yeeeeea I get that a couple songs plod harder than a fat dude pretending to do cardio but he tells you he’s doing cardio everyday but we all know the reality. Get at me if you don’t listen to Imperium and wish this band was great all the time, that song is a fucking dynasty. The rest of this discography was full of violent hit and miss moments, when they hit yea, it rules. When they miss, the gravity of what you’re listening to really sinks in. I had a couple moments of that on the road this week, like, what if I straight up crash my car and fucking die - then the firefighter tells my mum that the last thing I was listening to was Machine Head.
That’s a fucking real heavy emotion man. My mum can spot a fake ass poser a mile away. Fuck that dirty firefighter for telling her that.

Do firefighters come to car crashes?

But when you’re absorbed in these atrocious misses like ‘The Blood, The Sweat, the Tears’ and you’re just fucking hurting inside, let’s not forget, Phil Demmel and Rob Flynn were straight up in god damn Vio-Lence. Two guys from fucking Vio-Lence went on to write White Knuckle Blackout, a song that I can only assume is about jacking it with such a tight grip you pass out on your 90's Metallica albums. I know a few of you listen to these albums after these reviews, but please listen to Oppressing the Masses by Vio-Lence and get back to me.
Vio-Lence fucking own.

Straight off the bat I’m gonna say shut the fuck up to anyone that says Burn my Eyes is great. Because shut the fuck up, honestly less than half of that album is great and the rest fuckin' stinks. Yea ‘Let Freedom Reign with a Shotgun Blast’ is a dope thing to write on your high school backpack in vivid, ‘Old’ taught us how to do harmonics real good and Blood for Blood is pretty much the best Machine Head song, but everything else is pure filler. Ooooh you put a phaser on that dogshit clean riff, cool man, but maybe play a cool riff and don’t use a phaser because that shit blows.The More Things change is the one that everyone says is their best. But in 2018 The More Things Change is straight up just a sober Pantera with less confederate flags. Deal with it dweebs.

Now I’ve never had a good time listening to the The Burning Red. Like, my mind goes into fight or flight mode and I instinctively expect bullying man, real nasty bullying too. This time was no different, but this time the most unthinkable thing happened. I was driving heaps this week in a rental car so I decided to buy a vape to cut down on time needing to stop and smoke cigs. I was driving through Inglewood and you know when you’re in a 100k zone and you have the tunes WAY louder than you would in town, but you get to town and you haven’t realised until you’re blowing the biggest vape cloud anyone’s ever seen while Rob Flynn is literally singing the words ‘This pain that I feel deep inside’ then you make eye contact with a god damn tradie amidst a cloud of grape menthol vape jizz.Not a word of a lie, that happened. And I was MORTIFIED.BUT! I will say, that song is the best on the album. From This Day is honestly kinda cool. But that’s kinda where The Burning Red peaks, the album blows so hard. They’re not even trying at this point. Desire to Fire and Nothing Left have the exact same riff in them, no one points it out because it’s such low hanging fruit. Teasing The Burning Red is like going to high five a kid with no arms then just cracking up. But that kid is Rob Flynn, and instead of being mad he’s just gonna write another stupid fucking album about his mum snapping him smoking cigarettes.

For the love of god people, stop teasing Rob Flynn or this shit is gonna go on forever.

I know what you’re thinking, The Burning Red is the worst album in their discography. Well, let’s talk about that. So we all know The Burning Red is a legit hate crime wearing baggy shorts, but, they acknowledged that. They know it sucks as much as you do. But did you know that Supercharger was intended to be a ‘back to the roots’ attempt to be relevant again.Yep. Supercharger is intended to be Machine Head at their fucking best. If you have the nerve, I fucking dare you to accompany the rest of this review with a track called American High playing in the background. It’s linked HERE. When you open it, don’t stress, ye man you did click the right one and it does in fact open with Robb Flynn doing some kind of Tarzan noise before talking about getting drunk at school. See? This is what happens when you tell Robb Flynn he should fuck off, he comes back and writes an album in detention. As a 50 year old dude.Hot take - Robb Flynn actually has a side business making ASMR videos for bogans with chronic anxiety. Have you noticed that Robb always does that awkward whisper right before he says the shittest lyric in the song, he’s subversively getting you to subscribe to his YouTube channel. Not a word of a lie, this is true. Google it.

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The Blackening tricked all of us man. Stop typing your angry email about how good that album is dude, go back and give it a spin. It’s not as good as you remember. Like, it’s fine I guess. It’s just 9 minute pseudo thrash songs from a band not quite good enough to make it go back patch territory and they’re SUPER aware of it.  Yea that breakdown riff in Wolves fucking slaps, Aesthetics it Hate is cool and Clenching the Fist of Dissent is great but that’s it. No one had ever said Slanderous by Machine Head is their favourite song you turkey. Oooh Robb would do anything to write an album worthy of being on someone's back patch, ain't happening my guy.

Unto the Locust is an album that happened.

Dude what the actual fuck happened on Catharsis?! They slipped back into Supercharger territory for half of the album and wrote straight up a nu-metal and then the other half sounds like a dogshit Chimaira. The audacity of that move because Chimaira already sound like a dogshit Chimaira. This album is a god damn trainwreck I don’t even know how to explain it. Let’s not even get started on how problematic it is that the song Bastards is an Americana style folk rock song that uses the N and F words, yea I understand it’s ironic but my problem is that Machine Head play an Americana style folk rock song, and a fucking horrendous one at that. I fucking urge you to try listen to Catharsis, I honestly think The Burning Red is five times better than it, and The Burning Red straight up gave me shingles listening to it.

To summarize, Machine Head is that kid that out of all your friends that your mum really liked having over for dinner because he was polite and wore a button down shirt, even though the button down shirt probably had a barcode on the back and a Slipknot logo on the tit. You don’t really want to hang out with him but you know if he’s there your mum will pay less attention to your methy mates. 

Burn my Eyes - 2.7 natural harmonics on the third fret out of 5
Best track - Blood for Blood

The More Things Change - 2.9 most polite walls of death you’ve ever seen out of 5
Best track - Struck a Nerve

The Burning Red - 2.1 camo shorts 2.1 sizes to big for you out of 5
Best track - From this Day

Supercharger - 1 accidentally brought on iTunes out of 5
Best track - Bulldozer

Through Ashes of Empires - 3.4 almost thrash songs out of 5
Best track - Imperium

The Blackening - 2.75 lip piercings your mum told you not go get out of 5
Best track - Wolves

Unto the Locust - 1.1 fucks given out of 5
Best track - Just pick one, none of these songs matter

Catharsis - 0.45 - no jokes, this is the worst album I’ve heard in at least 5 years.
Best song - dude, literally none. Fuck this god damn album. Go listen to Bastards, the Americana song just to fucking ruin your day.

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