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Machine Head - Machine F**king Head

Label: Roadrunner
Format: CD download
Released: 2012
Reviewed By: Mark Gromen
Rating: 8/ 10


Sly timing, getting this in the “stores” as the band embarks on a North American tour! All the Dethklok kiddies who enjoy the Head’s performance can pick up a copy at the merch booth! The audio was recorded during the Oakland, CA outfit’s last UK trek (founder/vocalist/guitarist Rob Flynn offers shoutouts to Manchester, Glasgow, etc), in support of “Unto The Locust”. In fact, all but one (‘Pearls Before The Swine’) of that album’s seven tracks are included amongst the 15 which constitute their second live outing. As with 2003’s “Hellalive”, classics like ‘Bulldozer’ (although Flynn sounds a bit rough), ‘The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears’, ‘Ten Ton Hammer’ and ‘Old’ (paradoxically, the opening chronology from that previous onstage anthology) are included as is ‘Davidian’ (“Let freedom ring with a shotgun blast”) the tune they’ve been labeled with, since their ’94 “Burn My Eyes” debut.

 

With basically one third from the newest studio effort, one third live retreads, that doesn’t leave much room for anything else, but managed to pack in a trio off “The Blackening”, their glorious ’07 return to form that garnered massive praise overseas, yet really failed to ignite, here at home. While there’s (criminally) no ‘Farewell To Arms’, ‘Halo’, ‘Beautiful Mourning’ and ‘Aesthetics of Hate’ are onboard. Virtually crucified for adopting more modern/ nu-metal tendencies, following the stellar debut, until righting the ship with “The Blackening”, a like-minded return to form, if you don’t own a copy, pick up that vicious thrash attack! A rather vocal crowd (audibly) sings along to every song and in between, they chant the band’s name, utilizing the moniker that created this album’s title. Flynn drops plenty of f-bombs during his banter with the crowd (repeated references to circle pits), leading to a comical bit in ‘Old’, where the crowd offers the “Jesus wept” chorus, to which the frontman responds, “Fucking A he did!” Never quite heard Christianity’s central figure described that way. Another unbelievable moment (given its surroundings) is the acoustic, nearly a cappella start to ‘Darkness Within’, which also references the Lord. Classical strings fade out as the band leaves the stage, following ‘Who We Are’, only to return for the 1-2 pummeling of a twin guitar lead ‘Halo’ and ‘Davidian’ encore. Certainly replicated the sonic barrage of a Machine Head gig!

 
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