Review Summary: The album that truly started the phrase "Machine F***ing Head"
The recent uproar following Machine Head’s 2007 album, and subsequent sixth studio release, The Blackening, has managed to re-pique my interest in the ‘Head. After being somewhat disappointed with The Blackening
(nevermind my 8/10 score… the way some critics and some fans who had previewed the album were talking, I was half expecting the second coming of Jesus), I decided to dig out all the old Machine Head albums, have a good listen to each, and remind myself what exactly it is about Machine Head that makes people lose themselves.
A listen to the phenomenal opener of Burn My Eyes
, bought back some of the old memories of the band that I had forgotten during my recent discovery of several bands that were new to me (Every Time I Die, Porcupine Tree, Opeth) - it was as simple as it could really get: it bought new hope to those who didn’t think that metal still had what it took to survive in today’s modern metal world. Iron Maiden weren’t as good as they used to, Black Sabbath had gone off the rails, Metallica and Megadeth had sold out, and the only other bands really making waves to metal fans was Pantera and Sepultura - and no offence to either band, but they just weren’t as good as MH.
As you continue through the album’s play list, as I did, then a question may appear in your head; what would have happened if Machine Head had managed to build on this, instead of trying to impress the mainstream, and created another one of these classic, pure thrash albums? The possibilities could have been endless, such is the class and confidence that oozes from BME
. Everyone knows what happened; they diversified, they got worse, and the people that persevered in the face of depreciating albums had to continue looking to album number one for confirmation that this was a great band (until 2003, with “Through The Ashes Of Empires
Never the less, there are some great songs on here, no matter what would happen in the near future. If there was an essence of thrash metal, then Machine Head certainly drank from that elixir on this album; indeed, from personal opinion, the only albums that manage to top it in its genre are Metallica’s ‘Master Of Puppets
’ and Megadeth’s ‘Rust In Peace
’. Those certainly are lofty pedestals to be attempting to gain access to, indeed.
But enough about the bare-bones around Burn My Eyes
; in listening to the album, from the opening strains of Davidian
to the all-out Block
there’s absolutely no letting up in the intensity of these eleven songs, save for the more restrained and elegant sounds of the bass-led I’m Your God Now
a hugely personal religious experience from the minds of these several men. Rob Flynn was most definitely paying attention to bands such as Pantera, as the intensity of the six-string axe is bought to the fore with the same kind of relentless intent as Dimebag Darrell.
It may seem that I’m trying too hard to shove this album down people’s throats; believe me, I’m not intentionally trying to. I’m giving an honest opinion of an album that I believe was the mid-way point between the golden 80s era and the current revival in some damn good metal; this along with several other bands from the Roadrunner Records stable, which were Fear Factory, Sepultura and Type O Negative. This foursome were all bands that bought something succinctly different, and yet reshaped metal in ways that they each saw fit, and so, bought the 80s to the thousands. And it brings me to my point: only Machine Head have managed to come back from the doldrums they all suffered from to become a true force in heavy metal (Fear Factory also made a comeback, but not to the level that Machine Head managed).
Each song is a personal master class - the aforementioned Davidian
and others such as A Thousand Lies
and None But My Own
and each one was infused with the sort of melody that would have made Metallica blush - albeit with a heavy, lightning-quick guitar tone. It was heavy, and full on, but in a way that you could stand back and appreciate what exactly was happening. They were heavy, but they also had the good sense to know about melody, and that in heavy metal, speed isn’t everything (it counts for a lot, but it isn’t everything). This really hits home during the introduction to A Nation On Fire
; it greatly reduces the r.p.m, and it features as one of the (many) must-hear cuts on this little silver disc.
There aren’t any major flaws in Burn My Eyes
’ armour. Sure, there’s little niggles, as with any album (most likely, the fact that Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies
isn’t very long, or that A Thousand Lies
and None But My Own
pretty much have the same riff, albeit at different tempos - or the ridiculous vocals on the introduction to Death Church
), but saying so would be petty, and the fact is that on an album that manages to not have a completely duff track, picking out flaws shouldn’t be a factor in listening to this album. In this reviewer’s opinion, it’s one of the ten best metal albums out there, it’s the reason people didn’t write Machine Head from it’s release until “Through The Ashes...
”, and it’s the best reason for getting into Machine Head as a band.
There’s little else to be said; if you hate thrash metal, stay far, far away. If you don’t, and you don’t already own this, then you can do one hell of a lot worse than to pick up a copy. And soon.
The one-band thrash revival - buy it, love it, cherish it
- None But My Own
- I'm Your God Now