Goddamn I love Machine Head. I think I love them more than Metallica (wait, don’t get up!) and more than Slipknot and more than Megadeth, Testament, Lamb Of God and maybe even more than Gojira.
Machine Head are one of those metal bands that you can’t be more metal than. They’re perfect companions for Priest (remember they’re my barometer for how metal something is) Maiden, Orange Goblin and Mastodon. The noises that Machine Head make are so perfectly in and of the genre that they’re kinda doing us all a public service by continually putting out albums that sound like Machine Head. They recently got some stick for their less heavy 2018 album Catharsis. Personally I still heard a metal band playing classic metal music. But the real service they’ve done the metal world is follow that genre smashing debut album Burn My Eyes with consistently monolithic riff stacked records like The More Things Change, The Blackening and 2011’s Unto The Locust.
When the fringes of this genre called Metal contort themselves to try and stay relevant (it never has to but it happens) bands like Machine Head put out records like Locust. This may have been founding bassist Adam Duce’s last record with the band (that is kinda sad) but there’s something metal about a big family tree in the rhythm section (or even on the microphone) too. Just look at how many cats have been in Iron Maiden.
This dark, brooding lyric with pummeling drums (take a bow Dave McClaine you shine on this record) and those Machine Head guitars don’t do anything other metal records haven’t done before or since. An’ yit. When Machine Head do it, it’s as if we’re seeing this stuff done properly.
The big boys have arrived to give your Heavy Metal an overhaul. Just gonna make sure it’s all working properly. All the moving parts do what they’re supposed to. It’s a full body Metal workout. OK. You’re good. You can go back to listening to other bands now. Your Heavy Metal is all in working order.
When they play live these days they don’t do album promo or support slots. They just get up there and play as much of the back catalog as possible. 3 hour plus shows that nod to every era of their recorded output and set lists that take you high, low, left and right. Unto The Locust isn’t Machine Head’s go to record if you’re discovering them for the first time. But maybe it should be. It’s frikkin’ biblical.