FINEST HOUR: Machine Head

Getting into a new band can sometimes seem like a rather daunting task, especially if their recorded material surpasses a few albums. Maybe you want to get into a band who’s supporting one of your favourites on tour, maybe you want to see if the hype is justified, or maybe you just want to discover new music. Whatever the reason, FINEST HOUR is here to whittle down your new favourite band’s material into a sample playlist before delving into the deep cuts.

The 90s gave us a great storm of American metal including Killswitch Engage, Lamb Of God, Pantera and one of the biggest metal bands alive today the mighty Machine Head. Machine Head personify what modern metal should be about, they’re heavy, they’re brilliant musicians, they’re uncompromising, and most importantly they’re proud to be metal. It’s been over 20 years since their first album so here’s a quick guide to fill you in before their 2016 UK tour.

DAVIDIAN (from ‘Burn My Eyes’)
The song that started it all, and right from the beginning of their debut opener you hear everything take makes Machine Head great. Amazing riffs with interesting guitar work, the birthings of Robb Flynn’s innovative songwriting and lyrics. “LET FREEDOM RING WITH A SHOTGUN BLAST!”

DEATH CHURCH (from ‘Burn My Eyes’)
Machine Head helped innovate the groove metal riff, it’s tracks on the first album that put them ahead of the curve in the mid 90s. You can hear how and why in the brutal ‘Death Church’.

BLOCK (from ‘Burn My Eyes’)
Another from the debut showing just how heavy this new band called Machine Head could be. You can imagine them wrecking small venues all over California with stuff like this.

TEN TON HAMMER (from ‘The More Things Change…’)
One of the best riffs in Machine Head‘s back-catalogue opens their often overlooked second album. The album follows a similar suit as the first but has more a gritty edge to it, Flynn’s vocals improved and are closer to the voice we know today.

THE BLOOD, THE SWEAT, THE TEARS (from ‘The Burning Red’)
This is when Machine Head began to dip in album quality. Whilst these albums felt like attempts to jump on the nu-metal bandwagon a bit, there’s still some raging tunes on them and it helped Machine Head perfect the chorus. ‘The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears’ is a huge tune both live and on record.

SILVER (from ‘The Burning Red’)
Machine Head explore a slower path on this one, it’s tunes like this that show that these two albums actually helped Machine Head develop into the band they are today so much.

ALOCOHOLOCAUST (from ‘The Burning Red’)
A very deep cut here, from the B-sides of The Burning Red comes a track they probably should of put on the album. Pure 90s metal rage.

BULLDOZER (from ‘Supercharger’)
You can say what you want about this slightly cringeworthy album, but you can’t say it wasn’t heavy, it definitely have it’s moments. ‘BULLDOZER’ CRUSHES ALL.

WHITE-KNUCKLE BLACKOUT (from ‘Supercharger’)
See what we mean? ‘Bulldozer’ hits fucking hard, as does ‘White-Knuckle Blackout’. ‘The Burning Red’ and ‘Supercharger’ are far from perfect, but this album and ‘The Burning Red’ have their place, and if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have one of the greatest comeback albums in metal, ‘From The Ashes Of Empires’.

IMPERIUM (from ‘Through The Ashes Of Empires’)
“Hear me now!” is the roar heard all over the world when Machine Head came back to claim their crown. With a new line-up and new epic but groovy thrash sound that they’re known for now, they took the world by storm again.

IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES (from ‘Through The Ashes Of Empires’)
‘Through The Ashes Of Empires’ showed Machine Head with a new groove and aggression which is displayed perfectly in this absolute rager.

BEAUTIFUL MOURNING (from ‘The Blackening’)
“FUCK YOU ALL!” ‘The Blackening’ is considered a masterpiece of modern metal, and ‘Beautiful Mourning’ shows why. ‘The Blackening’ not only shot Machine Head into a new world of masterclass songwriting but changed the face of metal.

AESTHETICS OF HATE (from ‘The Blackening’)
Written as a fuck you to a piece of ‘journalism’ slandering the late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell, this song has become a signature Machine Head song and a classic metal song in the modern day.

HALO (from ‘The Blackening’)
One of the few songs within the last decade to be contender for greatest metal song ever written, there is no tune more huge, no tune more epic, than the mighty ‘Halo’.

LOCUST (from ‘Unto The Locust’)
Machine Head continue their epic songwriting capabilities to bring us another raging album, ‘Unto The Locust’ picks up the ferocity where ‘The Blackening’ left off. The track Locust also has one of the best Machine Head choruses ever.

DARKNESS WITHIN (from ‘Unto The Locust’)
An epic written about how music helps and changes us all, we can see Flynn‘s brilliant lyrics in work in ‘Darkness Within’, ‘Unto The Locust’ is an unmissable album not to be overshadowed by ‘The Blackening’.

I AM HELL (from ‘Machine F**king Head Live’)
The opener from ‘Unto The Locust’ sounds best live, so head to the brilliant ‘Machine F**king Head Live’ album to hear it in most monstrous form! ‘Machine F**king Head Live’ is seriously up there with Pantera‘s ‘101 Proof’ in best metal live albums ever.

NOW WE DIE (from ‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’)
The huge opener from their latest and greatest outing, it looked like ‘The Blackening’ would be the peak of Machine Head‘s output but ‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’ has given it a run for its money. It has amazing tracks all over it but ‘Now We Die’ sets the enchanting tone of this stellar record.

We’ve also compiled this selection into a handy Spotify playlist for you below:

Do you agree with our choices? Let us know in the comment section below!

‘An Evening With Machine Head’ starts this week, featuring longer sets to cover more of their extensive back-catalogue. Check out the dates below:

MARCH 05 – BELFAST, Limelight
MARCH 06 – DUBLIN, Olympia
MARCH 10 – CARDIFF, Great Hall
MARCH 11 – LONDON, Hammersmith Apollo
MARCH 12 – GLASGOW, O2 Academy

Written by Jack King (@Jackingy)