NØ GØDS, NØ MASTERS – Machine Head

It’d been a long time since I went to a gig. COVID and then Lockdowns, work and then other stuff got in the way. I used to go to several each month before the thing happened (Windows, Blast him!). Afterwards I felt like someone else. The scope of my world and the ‘where I do go, where I don’t go’ parameters of my life felt ever shifted. Between 2020 and 2021 I somehow got too old for mosh pits (I think this was almost definitely the case for a good long while but I was too stubborn to admit it). So I let some bigarse gigs I’d normally be a shoe-in for pass me by. Still being cautious. The risk to the vulnerable close to me and my work responsibilities had precedence.

Then I saw an email inviting me to buy tickets to see Machine Head at Wembley Arena… I’d been ticking down towards the release of ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN by keeping up with my downloadable content. Playing along from home if your like. Like some old dudes do with fantasy football teams.

It started (for me) with UNHALLØWED and became more tantalising a prospect with each subsequent deliberate leak. The rumours were true. They were back on form. The ten minute epic SLAUGHTER THE MARTYR that opens the album was no fluke. The Black Album imitations of Is There Anybody Out There and the slam poetry stuff was in the past and this was once again “Proper metal by a proper metal band that plays proper metal music for proper metalheads”.

NØ GØDS, NØ MASTERS be praised this was just what I needed. New stomping thrashing swilling anthems to.. umm, well… stomp, thrash and swill to.

“I’m coming Wembley hold a ticket for me.”

The show incorporated a co-headline approach. New for the denizens of The Head as we’re used to seeing them play all night three hour shows without support or distraction. Amon Amarth were the other big name on the slate. I’ve seen them before a couple of times and always enjoyed their schtick. Wembley was no different. While I actually know very little of their music or background, as a metalhead of 30 plus years standing I felt right at home with the pyro, chunky breakdowns and big chant along choruses. Lovely stuff.

However, all that was forgotten in an instant when Machine Head (one of my all time favourite pure Metal bands) opened their show with the new albums first single BECØME THE FIRESTØRM. This was going to be epic…

Despite being an arena show in support of a new record Machine Head did not trouble the set list that night with any more songs from ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN. They played a greatest hits set that spanned Burn My Eyes, Unto The Locust, Through The Ashes of Empires & The Blackening among the choicest cuts of their other stuff (they swerved Catharsis and Bloodstone completely) but they steered clear of the new record. Huh! OK. I wasn’t expecting that. A ten song set though from a ten album band… Something has got to give.

I wasn’t in the pit either, but from my raise elevation in ‘Block Whatever’ it looked lively as all hell. They put on a hot potato of a show with less ‘stuff’ than Amon Amarth had used to add to the smell of the greasepaint or the roar of the crowd. They threw the odd drink into the pit, cracked a few gags between tracks and commanded some ‘Leemyseeyawhaynds’ moments but the metal spoke for itself.

NØ GØDS, NØ MASTERS* is an excellent slice of heavy metal from the equally marvellous ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN. File along side Mastodon, Clutch, Gojira and the idea that you’re never too old for a mosh pit.

*It’s also the second time a track with this name has featured on this blog in a year… Which considering the hiatus, is a thing. Props to Garbage for getting there first.

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