REVIEW: MACHINE HEAD @ O2 ACADEMY, GLASGOW (05.11.19)
Bonfire night was more then just bonfire night on November 5th 2019. For metalheads in the city of Glasgow, Scotland, it was the day the almighty Machine Head would be returning. Building on the band's previous evening with type shows, the Burn My Eyes anniversary show was described in its press release as "a three-hour musical extravaganza" comprised of two parts. This sounded like something I definitely wanted to travel all the way up to Glasgow for!
Part one consisted of a ear busting riff battery of Machine Head's modern classics, such as "Imperium", "Halo" and "Locust", featuring guitarist/vocalist Robb Flynn and bassist Jared MacEachern performing alongside new recruits guitarist Wacław "Vogg" Kiełtyka (Decapitated) and drummer Matt Alston (ex-Devilment, ex-Eastern Front). Part two featured Burn My Eyes played in its entirety for the first time ever, with original drummer Chris Kontos and original guitarist Logan Mader (now of Once Human) joining in.
As is typical for Machine Head these days, the tour has not been without its controversies. Notably, Robb Flynn got into a brief spat with Edsel Dope (of the band Dope) over the term "Die Motherfucker Die", a lyric Dope used before Machine Head did (this compounded on a previous accusation of musical theft regarding the song "Love?" by Strapping Young Lad). The London show at Brixton Academy was also nearly cancelled due to beer being spilled onto the venue's sound desk. So, as you'd expect, my anxiety was extremely high going into this show! However, I was equally very excited, as this was the first time I had seen Machine Head perform since I was 16 years old.
Thankfully, my concerns were alleviated. The latest incarnation of Machine Head smashed through their set all guns blazing and tighter then the engine of a classic Ferrari . Songs like "Darkness Within" and "Imperium" were performed with awesome conviction - those classic big money groove metal riffs and technical neo-classical metal solos have never sounded better! It's very clear that Vogg and Matt Alston have bought back the youthful fire that was missing in the band. I hope that some time in next couple of years they cut a record with this new line up - it would be an incredible experience to hear new music from this new, re-invigorated Machine Head.
Now it was time for the second half of the evening. Chants of "Machine Fucking Head!" rang through the venue as the classic line up walked on stage. Robb Flynn, Chris Kontos, Logan Mader and Jared MacEachern stormed through Burn My Eyes, performing classics such as "Davidian" and "Old" with incredible fire and ease. I never thought that I'd hear songs such as "A Thousand Lies", "Death Church", "A Nation On Fire" and "Blood For Blood" performed live - it was a complete and utter delight to hear them being played!
If someone was to ask me how I felt about Machine Head in 2019, as a long time fan of the band my answer will always be the same as its always been. Machine Head is a musical breeding ground for some of the best creativity in modern metal and, with its new lineup, that's staying intact. I can't wait to see where Robb Flynn and his new bandmates take Machine Head next.
ROCKODILE RATING: 10/10
Words by Tom Da Silva