Rob CB’s eyes always light up when there’s a new Machine Head tour or album. Well, it looks like we’ll get both next year. So in preparation for what is about to come, he tackles the burning question…
What do we want from the new Machine Head album?
The announcement of a US tour, as a rule, doesn’t really get us Brits brimming with excitement, does it? Why would it?
It means a band you love is playing “Some dive bar” at least 4255 miles away from your home town. Not exactly one you can pop down to after work.
When that US Tour is the first real peep for ages that you’ve heard out of your favourite band regarding touring, then your ears prick up a bit. Throw in the “Supporting the new album” line and, well… we’re listening. We don’t need to mention the 3hr sets do we…
And we thought they were going to take years to come back with a follow up album.
Yep, Machine Head are out on the road across the States supporting their soon to drop ‘Catharsis’ album in just a matter of months. Album no. 9 in the catalogue and we MFH diehards still have absolutely no idea what we’re going to get from Machine Head! No really. Have you ever thought you knew what Machine Head were going to do next? You were probably wrong.
Let’s look into the history of ‘The New Machine Head Album”
Burn My Eyes : How about starting out with the biggest debut album on Roadrunner Records of all time then? Talk about hitting the ground running. With just about the perfect formula for early nineties heavy music, Machine Head introduced themselves with the likes of the colossal ‘Davidian’ and the anthemic ‘Old’. It was fresh, it was new but it had plenty of nods to the classics too.
The More Things Change : So what do you do when you’ve found that magic winning formula? You change it, go heavier, more brutal and come back with a whole new attitude. There are no catchy anthems on this one and as a fan at the time, it was slightly underwhelming. Chuck it on the stereo now however and all I hear if solid gold Machine Head. ‘Burn My Eyes’ simply could not be followed down the same path. It wouldn’t be the last time Machine Head put put an album that simply couldn’t be followed either…
The Burning Red : Well this is where it gets interesting. You’ve just gone heavier than ever with the second album and now where do you go when the third album rears it’s head. Do we cut our losses and make ‘Burn My Eyes II”. Of course not. Let’s put on a red nylon tracksuit and go all out melodic/rap/something completely different. A controversial one (to say the least) is ‘The Burning Red’ but only really ridiculed by people who didn’t like Machine Head in the first place. And you know what pisses those people off even more? The fact that any Machine Head fan worth their salt bloody loves the ‘.. Red’. There is no bigger Friday night anthem than ‘The Blood, The Sweat, The (beers)’ but there were many layers to this one.
Supercharger – There was nothing wrong with ’Supercharger’ apart from the timing. The world came crashing down with 9/11 and, well you know the rest. Machine Head released ‘Crashing Around You’, heavy metal was censored on the radio, things were at little delicate… especially if you had a song call ‘’Crashing Around You’. This album goes from highs of ‘Bulldozer’ to lesser peaks of ‘All In Your Head’ but is generally a solid record. It could easily have been the end for the band however, released from their one time label Roadrunner Records and running on one guitar. Things looked bleak.
Through The Ashes Of Empires – This one nearly didn’t happen then, but from the moment we heard ‘Here Me Now!’ belt out for the first time, we knew Machine were back. ‘Imperium’ is like MH’s ‘Stairway To Heaven’. A long twisted tale and just about the greatest heavy metal song of all time. It almost reinvigorated Machine Head on the spot but it does help that the whole album was a sonic masterpiece. There was a real feeling that Machine Head were on the top of their game again and with five albums in the bag, you couldn’t really ask for any more than TTAOE, could you?
The Blackening – Where the hell did this come from? All the thrash, all the epic’ness, all the darkness and a little bit of stoner magic too. ‘The Blackening’ is a modern classic, one that will be talked about in decades to come. It’s pretty much perfect. how many times did we see Machine Head on this touring cycle, we can’t count. but they toured the hell out of it and it was some well deserved success and recognition for the band
Unto The Locust – If ‘The More Things Change’ was that difficult second album, then ‘Unto The Locust’ was that pretty much impossible album. Following ‘The Blackening’ was tough, and to some extents, it showed. Machine Head set themselves a tight deadline with this one as pre-orders went live before it was finished. If we know anything about Machine Head, then we know that they prefer to slow cook their albums rather than rush through to a tight deadline. ‘Locust’ and ’Darkness Within’ are stone cold classics and this is not a bad album by any stretch. It could have done with maybe one more big track on there if we’re honest.
Bloodstone & Diamonds – Back on track, probably once again against all expectations, ‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’ turned out to be a mixed bag of styles and songs, but one that worked really well after a few listens. There are tonnes of great tracks from full speed thrashers to atmospheric slow burners. ‘Game Over’ however, well that is just a monster.
So, we now know that the New Machine Head album will be called ‘Catharsis’, it’ll be out early 2018, probably January. Robb has been doing a lot of his FB Live clips of late and he’s said that it reminds him of ‘The Burning Red’. Melodic but heavy, with a lot of groove compared to the speedier side of things. It’s be a bit shorter than we’re used to and if we have proven anything today, it will be very different to the last album!
So then, what were we doing? What do we want from the new Machine Head album?
We want Machine Head to do whatever the hell they want to, because we know we can trust them to deliver!
Bring it on 2018!
Sun 13-May UK, Southampton Guildhall
Mon 14-May UK, Cardiff, University
Tue 15-May UK, Bristol Academy
Thu 17-May UK, Birmingham Academy
Fri 18-May UK, London, Roundhouse
Sat 19-May UK, London, Roundhouse
Mon 21-May UK, Nottingham Rock City
Tue 22-May UK, Newcastle, Academy
Wed 23-May Scotland, Glasgow Academy
Fri 25-May UK, Manchester Academy
MACHINE HEAD will also be offering an extremely limited number of VIP Packages in 2 tiers at www.machinehead.vip.