Machine Head is an American heavy metal band from Oakland, California, formed in 1992. Founded by singer and guitarist Robb Flynn and bassist Adam Duce, and has only had 4 personnel changes since its inception 17 years ago. The current lineup of the band comprises Flynn (vocals, guitar), Duce (bass), Phil Demmel (guitar), and Dave McClain (drums). Machine Head is one of the pioneering bands in the New Wave of American Heavy Metal.
Machine Head was formed by member Robb Flynn, priorly being a part of the bands Forbidden and Vio-lence. Flynn felt musically unfulfilled with Vio-lence and requested to start a side project. When his request was denied, he left the band and formed Machine Head in 1992 with Adam Duce, Logan Mader and Tony Constanza. Though the band's first album, Burn My Eyes, was a big success in Europe where it garnered attention on MTV's Headbangers Ball, but in America (with HBB taken off the air during the grunge movement) Machine Head would not have success until later albums. The band nearly disbanded in 2002 after negotiating off its label, Roadrunner Records, when controversy surrounding Machine Head's 4th release "Supercharger" (released 2 weeks after Sept.11th, 2001) resulted in their songs and their then-current video for the song "Crashing Around You' (which featured burning buildings) being pulled from all media outlets. The band re-signed with Roadrunner soon after and has released two albums since, 2003's "Through the Ashes of Empires", and 2007's The Blackening, which earned Machine Head its first Grammy Award nomination.
Formation and Burn My Eyes (1992?1996)
Machine Head were formed in 1992 in Oakland, California by vocalist/guitarist Robert Flynn and bassist Adam Duce. Flynn had recently parted ways with Vio-lence after a physical fight between the band members and a local gang. He still had a desire to write music and along with Duce recruited guitarist Logan Mader and drummer Tony Costanza to form Machine Head. The band's name was thought of by Flynn because it "sounded cool", despite the popular belief that it came from the Deep Purple album of the same name. The band started jamming in a local warehouse shared with four punk rock bands. Machine Head recorded a demo in a friend's bedroom, funded with $800, made from Duce dealing speed and marijuana. A record executive representing Roadrunner Records listened to the demo and signed the band.
Machine Head entered Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California to record its debut album Burn My Eyes. Not long into production, Constanza left the band and was replaced by Chris Kontos. Most of the songs on the album were songs written by Flynn and Duce during the time Flynn was not in a band, about "being pissed off" from his previous struggles in Vio-lence, as well as both of their battles with illegal drugs. Produced by Colin Richardson, the album was released on August 9, 1994. The album shipped nearly 400,000 copies worldwide, becoming Roadrunner Records' best selling debut album. Allmusic reviewer John Franck stated "Burn My Eyes is a bone-shattering exercise in brutality".
Not long after Burn My Eyes's release Machine Head started touring heavily in support of the album, opening for Slayer in Europe in the latter half of 1994, a tour which ended with their own headline show at the London Astoria. Following the success of the support tour the band returned to Europe for a headline tour in early 1995, performing in the same venues they opened for Slayer.. The band would return to Europe for the summer festival season but Kontos refused to tour and the band drafted Walter Ryan for the festival dates. On the bands return to the US Kontos was fired because he was not keeping to touring commitments. Kontos went on to play drums with Testament, and was replaced by Dave McClain.
The More Things Change... and The Burning Red (1997?2000)
After touring for Burn My Eyes, Machine Head entered the studio to record its second studio album, The More Things Change..., with Richardson producing and mixing for a second time. The album was released on March 25, 1997, and debuted at number 138 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Machine Head toured on the first Ozzfest for the first tour in support of the album. Mader showed up to a practice session late, high on methamphetamine, cursing and insulting the band members; and quit the band later that day. Ahrue Luster replaced him and finished touring.
After three years of touring and working with producer Ross Robinson, Machine Head released its third studio album, The Burning Red, on August 10, 1999. Luster influenced the band to add new elements to the band's music, including rapping vocals. This change in musical direction was highly criticized, with critics and fans alike accusing the band of "selling out". McClain stated they weren't trying to sound like popular bands but "wanted to sound different". Rick Anderson of Allmusic stated Machine Head was "sounding a bit looser and less constricted musically than they have in the past". The Burning Red became Machine Head's top selling album for a number of years, and debuted at number 88 on the Billboard 200.
Supercharger and Through the Ashes of Empires (2001?2006)
Machine Head finished touring for The Burning Red, and entered a studio with producer Johnny K to record Supercharger. Debuting at number 115 on the Billboard 200, the album was released on October 2, 2001. The album met the same criticism as The Burning Red, especially for the ever-present rapping vocals. Blabbermouth.net reviewer Borivoj Krgin stated Supercharger "is likely to disappoint everyone who is expecting the Bay Area quartet to return to the ultra-testosterone-charged sounds of their first two albums".
Bassist Adam Duce performing at 2009's Sonisphere Festival in Kirjurinluoto, Pori, Finland.
Machine Head released a single for "Crashing Around You" as well as a music video. The video was released several weeks after the September 11, 2001 attacks, and was banned from MTV for the depictions of falling buildings. Roadrunner Records, expecting to make a fair profit from album promotions, dropped the band's funding, causing Machine Head to leave the label. At the same time the band was leaving Roadrunner, Luster departed from the band for musical differences. Phil Demmel, who played alongside Flynn in Vio-lence, filled in as a temporary guitarist for several concerts in Europe. To complete contract obligations with Roadrunner, Machine Head released its first live album, Hellalive, which included several tracks with Demmel playing guitar. Although the band departed from the American portion of the label, Machine Head re-signed with Roadrunner International.
After Machine Head's European tour, Demmel returned to his family business and the band started writing together as a three-piece, while leaving a position open for Demmel. In March 2003, Demmel joined Machine Head as a full time guitarist and started writing with the band. By June 2003, Machine Head entered a studio with Flynn producing. On October 27, 2003, Machine Head released Through the Ashes of Empires in Europe.
The band was turned down by multiple record labels in the United States, until Roadrunner USA, interested in the new album, offered Machine Head another record contract. Machine Head accepted the offer on the grounds that the band owns 100% of the music. On April 20, 2004, Through the Ashes of Empires was released in the United States with a bonus track for the Americans' long wait for the album's release. The album debuted at number 88 on the Billboard 200. The band released a single for "Imperium", the video for which received heavy rotation on MTV. Eduardo Rivadavia of Allmusic stated Through the Ashes of Empires "marked a return to form in no uncertain terms".
Machine Head headlined the True Metal stage at the 2005 Wacken Open Air festival to 40,000 fans?the band's largest headlining crowd. The band released a DVD containing a full sold out concert held at the Brixton Academy in December 2004, a documentary, and music videos. The DVD debuted at number 13 on the United States music video charts.
They also played in Dubai for the annual Dubai Desert Rock Festival in 2005. This would be their first show in the Middle East.
The Blackening (2007 onward)
Frontman Robb Flynn performing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Machine Head's sixth studio album, titled The Blackening, was released in North America on March 27, 2007. It entered the Billboard 200 at number 53, the highest charting position for the band, with first-week sales of 15,000. It also made the top 20 in several European countries. Robb Flynn stated during a recent interview that the band are lovers of Canadian rockers Rush and listened to their album "A Farewell to Kings" during the making of The Blackening.
The album received positive reviews from music critics, with some labeling it the best metal album of 2007. Blabbermouth.net reviewer Don Kaye awarded the album a 9.5 out of 10, saying The Blackening is "one of the purest, finest, most powerful expressions of modern heavy metal released" and compared it to the 1986 Metallica album Master of Puppets, while Allmusic editor Thom Jurek described the album as "an over the top rage and pummelfest with all the qualities that earned the group its enormous fan base by touring and recording", praising the songs "Beautiful Mourning", "Halo", and "Now I Lay Thee Down". Rolling Stone reviewer Andy Greene, however, responded negatively as he was displeased with the songs running over ten minutes.
Machine Head toured North America with Lamb of God, Trivium and Gojira in early 2007 to promote The Blackening, and opened for Megadeth and Heaven and Hell in April 2007. A European tour saw the band make an appearance at the Download Festival in Donington Park. Shortly after, the band announced a co-headlining tour of Japan, Europe, and Australia titled The Black Crusade from October to December. Other bands on the bill included Trivium, Arch Enemy, DragonForce (Europe only) and Shadows Fall (Europe only). On June 12, 2007, at the Metal Hammer awards, the band won the award for "Best Album", and Flynn won the "Golden God" award. Machine Head also won "Album of the Year" at Kerrang's annual ceremony. The band replaced Bullet For My Valentine supporting Metallica's Wembley Stadium show on Sunday July 8, 2007, as Bullet For My Valentine's vocalist Matt Tuck required a tonsillectomy. Machine Head also toured North America with Hellyeah, Nonpoint and Bury Your Dead in early 2008. Machine Head recently completed a world tour where they hit even Bengaluru, India, Tel Aviv, Israel and Dubai, U.A.E. in March 2008 (photos available at reference).
In October 2008 the band toured in Australia with Slipknot. The band then toured Europe with Slipknot and Children of Bodom in November and December. The band recorded a version of Iron Maiden's classic, "Hallowed Be Thy Name" for a Kerrang! tribute compilation album, entitled "Maiden Heaven: A Tribute to Iron Maiden"; this song was played live at least once, in Rock in Rio 2008, in Lisbon, Portugal. Other bands who appeared on the album were label mates, Dream Theater and Trivium.
It was announced on August 10, 2008 that Machine Head and Austin, Texas based band The Sword will be opening for Metallica at ten shows in January 2009. In a recent interview conducted with Phil Demmel, he revealed that with Machine Head's upcoming touring commitments, the band would not have chance to write a follow up album until at least 2010, for an expected 2011 release date. Machine Head toured with The Sword in Metallica's World Magnetic Tour for the Death Magnetic album from 2008 to 2009. Machine Head will also open for Megadeth and Slayer along with Suicide Silence on the Canadian Carnage tour in late June. Machine Head reportedly cancelled their appearance at Sonisphere Festival in the UK because they had disagreements with the staff over their slot. They thought they should play after Limp Bizkit. However, a week before the Sonisphere festival took place on August 1 and 2, Machine Head agreed to take back their slot below Limp Bizkit. Their appearance was kept secret until the day they played. In August 2009, they won the Inspiration Award at the 2009 Kerrang! Awards. It was announced on the August 31st that Machine Head would tour through Europe and UK in 2010 with Hatebreed, Bleeding Through, and All Shall Perish in what will be known as 'The Black Procession'. This will be the last time the band tour in support of 'The Blackening' before writing the next album.
Robb Flynn - vocals, guitar (1992 onward )
Phil Demmel - lead guitar (2001 onward)
Adam Duce - bass, backing vocals (1992 onward)
Dave McClain - drums, (1995 onward)
Logan Mader - guitar (1992?1998)
Ahrue Luster - guitar (1998?2001)
Tony Costanza - drums (1992?1994)
Chris Kontos - drums (1994-1995)
Walter Ryan - drums (1995)
All Machine Head lyrics
- A Nation On Fire
- A Thousand Lies
- Alan�s On Fire
- Alan�s On Fire - Poison Idea
- All Fall Down
- All Falls Down
- All In Your Head
- American High
- Bay Of Pigs
- Bite The Bullet
- Blank Generation
- Blood For Blood
- Blood Of The Zodiac
- Colors - Ice-t
- Crashing Around You
- Days Turn Blue To Gray
- Days Turn From Blue To Gray
- Deafening Silence
- Death Church
- Descend The Shade Of Night
- Descend The Shades Of Night
- Desire To Fire
- Devil With The King�s Card
- Down To None
- Exhale The Vile
- From This Day
- Hard Times
- Hard Times - Cro-mags
- Hole In The Sky
- House Of Suffering
- House Of Suffering - Bad Brains
- I Defy
- I�m Your God Now
- In The Presence Of My Enemies
- Kick You When You�re Down
- Left Unfinished
- Message In A Bottle
- Message In A Bottle - Sting
- My Misery
- My Misery - Demon Knight
- My Misery - The More Things Change
All lyrics are property of their respective owners and are strictly for non-commercial use only.