It’s been a turbulent three years in the metal world since Machine Head released Unto the Locust to much critical praise. We’ve seen the continued rise of djent and it’s bastardizations, deathcore’s leanings into more progressive territories, progressive metal’s leanings into softer and more introspective territories, black metal through the eyes of shoegazers, and the return of a few old school death metal bands. The late nineties saw the band conform to the sound of the times, adopting the nu-metal style introduced by bands like Rage Against the Machine , Korn , and Limp Bizkit in years prior. Luckily, the current musical climate has had no impact on Machine Head, who have chosen to pound the flag they’ve been flying since their triumphant return to form with 2004’s Through the Ashes of Empires deeper into the ground, resulting in Bloodstone & Diamonds , their latest gem and first release for Nuclear Blast . Whereas Machine Head merely flirted with orchestral arrangements in the past, opening track ‘Now We Die’ starts off with a full on string section, setting the tone for the prodigious journey that lay ahead. The return of producer Colin Richardson is immediately apparent once things kick in: buzzsaw quad-layered guitars, drums punchier than Mike Tyson, and distorted bass sitting perfectly in the mix to complement the guitars. The sonics of Unto the Locust were perfectly appropriate for most metal albums of its caliber, but Richardson’s return makes it apparent that there is an intangible magic when the two work together. This is also the first album to feature new bassist Jared MacEachern after the well publicized fallout with original bassist Adam Duce , leaving Flynn as the sole original member. The band has been fraught with lineup changes over the years, but the heart of Machine Head has always been with Flynn. By the time second track, ‘Killers and Kings,’ bulldozes it’s way through the speakers, any apprehension is completely removed. Drummer Dave McClain ’s tasteful and simple ride bell play during the choruses carries the song masterfully, and his performance throughout the album is a testament to powerful modern metal drumming. Bloodstone & Diamonds does not wear any masks, exuding an honesty lost on much of today’s metal. In Machine Head’s case, perhaps it is a continued rebellion against their “experimental” period from 1999’s The Burning Red to 2001’s Supercharger . Despite this, the band have retained the best parts of said period while keeping the foundation they built in the beginning with Burn My Eyes , and also venturing into new territory. ‘Eyes of the Dead’ is the most representative track of their career by far, and perhaps the strongest track on the album. The intro reeks of early Megadeth with the ascending tapping lick over the pulsing drums, calling to mind ‘The Conjuring’ from the classic Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? . The verses thrash about in the melodeath way the band adopted on Through the Ashes of Empires , with a deadly infectious chorus with Flynn chanting “Murder! Murder!” and a follow-up hook worthy of the best melodic moments from The Burning Red . Add a whammy bar breakdown groove in the mid-section worthy of 1997’s The More Things Change and you have a massive recipe for success, all while not sounding the least bit derivative. From a performance aspect, this album marks some of Robb Flynn ’s most impassioned and versatile singing in years. The airy falsetto of the verses on ‘Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones’ are simultaneously sensuous and foreboding, counteracting perfectly with the bendy groove that follows. Without a doubt the biggest surprise found here is the brooding and eerie ‘Sail Into The Black’. Parts of this song reek of Ulver ’s dark ambient masterpiece Shadows Of The Sun , which is absolutely not a bad thing. Whether this is mere coincidence remains to be seen, but the drone of the baritone choir, thick and enveloping vocal harmonies, and subtle orchestral elements call the album to mind. It’s not until around the halfway mark when the trademark chainsaw guitars, distorted bass, and pounding drums kick in do we have any inkling that we’re still listening to Machine Head. While past tracks like ‘Violate’ and ‘Down to None’ extracted the sludgiest roots of the band, they have dug even deeper into the muck with the swampy ‘Beneath the Silt’. The track opens like an audio engineer’s dream, with the drums pounding out a gigantic fill that highlights the perfectly roomy mix. This is followed by possibly the lowest tuning the band have used to date, with a simple, bluesy, and filthy riff flinging gunk all over the precious and pretty melodic moments delivered on the previous six tracks. The song is not lost on melody however, with Flynn’s hypnotic falsetto covering the chuggy verse like an opiate laced wine basted over a stuffed pig. ‘Game Over’ smacks of bitterness and regret lyrically, quite obviously being an elegy to the friendship between Flynn and Duce. As Flynn cries “Another time, when music’s all we had, bonded by anger and addictions, so glad, always together, but no words are spoken, this is the sound of a friendship broken”, it’s hard to imagine it being anything but. Flynn also took to the mic in the past to deal with former guitarist Logan Mader ’s departure with the Sabbath infused ‘Devil With the King’s Card’ from The Burning Red , so this comes as no surprise. The only downside to this album is the sprinkled on patriotism of ‘In Comes the Flood’. The majority of the music is superb, with the use of orchestra in the beginning and the cascading classical melodies on the tail of the main riff. The problem is the uninspired populist ranting over the top of everything, especially the tired sounding “Wake up, America!” over a riff that drags harder than Ru Paul. Leaving this track off the album would have eschewed a perfect score. Despite this setback, Machine Head have delivered yet another classic addition to their catalog to rival and revel in the most triumphant moments of their career. ? Machine Head’s Bloodstone & Diamonds gets… 4.5/5 -DW
Posts Tagged ‘America’
Mike Ehrmann, Getty Images If silver marks a 25th anniversary and gold is for 50, apparently the perfect gift for a 110th anniversary is “rock,” and that’s exactly what Harley-Davidson will get for their latest milestone celebration as Kid Rock has signed on to play a bash for the company. The vocalist has just announced an exclusive partnership with the iconic motorcycle company that will include his appearance at the Labor Day weekend concert in Milwaukee. In addition, Harley-Davidson has come on board as the main sponsor of Rock’s ‘Rebel Soul’ tour , which launches tonight (Feb. 2) in Kansas City. As part of their backing, Harley-Davidson plan to offer unique fan experiences at each of Rock’s 60 planned tour stops. ‘What’s not to love about Harley?” said Rock. “They are the backbone of American culture, the flagship American brand. I am honored and excited to partner with this legendary icon that has helped define American freedom at home and abroad. In 110 years, no one has done a better job of representing America — there is NOTHING that screams America like Harley-Davidson.” Harley-Davidson Chief Marketing Officer Mark-Hans Richter added, “Kid Rock puts on a great show and embodies a lot of what Harley-Davidson and our fans stand for — freedom, independence, self-expression and the rebel spirit. We’re excited to take an unprecedented ride with him during the Rebel Soul tour.” As part of the partnership, Harley-Davidson will also co-brand Kid Rock’s ‘Rebel Soul’ merchandising featuring the song lyric, “ I can’t hear you over the rumble of my freedom .” [button href=”http://loudwire.com/alice-in-chains-2013-must-see-rock-concerts/” title=”Next: Check Out Other 2013 Must-See Rock Concerts” align=”center”]
Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images / Mary Ouellette, SheWillShootYou.com Who will be the next Ozzy Osbourne or Linkin Park ? That remains to be seen but it may actually be Osbourne or Linkin Park that helps them on the way. Both acts have agreed to be curators for the new Grammy Amplifier competition. Osbourne recently tweeted , “Are there any undiscovered musicians in the house?,” urging those interested to take part in the Grammy Amplifier program. There’s a three-step process to the competition, with the musicians first uploading a Soundcloud file to the website, then alerting their social networks to get fans voting for the music. The votes are known as “amplifies” and those with the most “amplifies” will have their music then passed on to the Grammy Amplifier curators — Ozzy Osbourne, Linkin Park, Rza and Kelly Clarkson . The four artists will then give the “most amplified” acts a greater platform by promoting the music they choose on their own social networking sites. The competition is limited to legal residents of the 50 United States who are at least 13 years of age. Musicians who currently or in the past have enjoyed a Billboard Hot 100 song or received Gold, Platinum or Multi-Platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America are not eligible. All entries must be submitted by Feb. 1. To get started and check out all of the rules, visit the GrammyAmplifier.com website . [button href=”http://loudwire.com/ozzy-osbourne-suffers-injuries-house-fire/” title=”Next: Ozzy Osbourne Suffers Injuries in House Fire” align=”center”]
Liz Ramanand, Loudwire In Flames frontman Anders Friden was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this past weekend. Friden spoke about touring all over the world, plans to write for a new album and his overall fondness for golfing and beer. Read Full Metal Jackie’s full interview with Anders Friden below: How are you? It’s great to see you again. I’m excellent. I’m good, extremely jet-lagged. We came from Japan a few days ago but I’m waking up at like seven in the morning but I’m happy. It must be crazy, your body doesn’t know what time zone that you’re in or if you’re supposed to be sleeping or awake. The thing is, we were in Japan just recently and we were there for two nights and three days and came from Sweden – just as I got adjusted to Japanese time it was time to come over here. So I’m totally f—ed in my head, more than usual. What an amazing place to play though. Yeah, I love being in Japan. I love being here as well, we play pretty much anywhere and enjoy it. What makes In Flames such a good fit on a bill with Hatebreed and Lamb of God, in your opinion? We can play with anyone, we are a metal band and we fit in with everyone. We play anywhere, with everyone – I mean we’ve known those guys for a long time. We all have history together so I think it’s really cool and a very relaxed atmosphere. Last night was the first night and there was no tension, no nothing, it was awesome. In Flames have been on and off the road, you guys have only been to the States twice this year? Yeah, we’ve been pretty busy doing Europe. We’ve been in America twice but we’ve been pretty much touring constantly – we had a month of prior to this but it’s been a busy year. Offstage, what do you think the difference is with your comradery with U.S. bands compared to other European bands? We’ve been to America so many times and we have a lot of friends over here and we have a history with them, as I said and we feel a bond somewhere. I believe we are pretty easygoing as people and hopefully they see that. We don’t pretend like we’re someone else, we are who we are and we let the music talk. You guys are on the road now and everyone’s always wondering about a band’s activities when they travel and when they’re touring. What would you say the most essential non-musical item you must have to have with you while you’re on tour? Beer. [Laughs] Well, beer you got anywhere you go. Well it is music and beer, that’s what it is – that’s my life. When I’m on the road I try to get away and play golf once in a while. I love to play golf, I didn’t bring my clubs this time because I thought the weather would be not as good but I do miss them today. It would have been great to go to a course, a golf course – a part from that just walking around a little bit and looking at the city you’re in, shopping for some vinyls, that’s what me and Niclas [Engelin] did today. It was expensive but fun. [Laughs] It’s funny because for us, you’re buying what’s considered an import for you. Yeah, but in Sweden it’s so expensive. You mentioned you were a golfer, is golfing a big deal in Sweden? I think it is, we’re like 9 million and there are a half million people golfing so I consider that a pretty big thing. I’ve never been to Sweden, I just imagine that it’s cold. Right now it’s extremely cold – it’s below zero I think. It’s nice to be here. Rather than write on the road, In Flames seems to be more interested in enjoying the romance of being on tour, good food, good beer and good company. What about such experiences do you think will affect new music once you’re back home? I highly doubt it will affect music whatsoever – I mean I guess you work better if you’re in a good music, somehow. It’s really hard to say what affects our music because I can’t really say what we have as an influence these days, anymore. When we started out it was like “We want to be like our heroes” and a few albums in – I don’t know anymore. Obviously, you guys are still working off the last record ‘Sounds of a Playground Fading.’ What’s the plan in terms of new music? Do you guys have anything new written or a timeline for when you’re going to go back? I wish we can write on the road but we can’t. We have all the time in the world but I don’t know – too much beer to drink. We’re looking into writing and recording something at the end of the next year, I think. So we’re hoping to have a release 2014 – it seems so far away but it’s not. Full Metal Jackie will welcome the legendary Henry Rollins to her program this coming weekend. She can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com .
Liz Ramanand, Loudwire Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this past weekend. Flynn spoke all about his hardships and fears with his hernia surgery as well as how going through that experience may impact future material for Machine Head. Flynn also spoke in depth about recording the band’s new live album ‘Machine F—ing Head.’ Read the full interview with Robb Flynn below: How are you feeling, sir? I’m doing alright, could be better, could be worse. You obviously had to drop off the Dethklok tour for some surgery and pretty amazing that you jumped back on so quickly. Thank you, we took nine shows off – I had an emergency, double hernia sugery. About a year ago I got a hernia and it was right before we started touring for ‘Locust’ and I went in to get it fixed and the doctor was like, “Well you’re not going to be able to sing for a couple of months,” and I was like, “Well I’m going on tour next week so that’s not going to work.” So he was like, “You know what if it’s not hurting that bad, basically it’s your intestines are poking out, you just push them all back in” and I was like “Oh, okay” [Laughs] so I did that and it didn’t really hurt that much. About three months ago I don’t know what I did but I got a second one in my nuts and basically my guts would drop into my nuts and that was a little more painful – having to push those back in, it was a little more complicated. I was touring and I just kept on touring and then we had a break and then we went back out on this thing and I figured, “Hey I’ve been on tour already with both of these things it should be fine.” I had already scheduled a surgery for January and about halfway through the tour – this whole tour has just been nuts it was like the f—ing hurricane and getting banned [by Disney] and the hernias and the bus breaking down [laughs] it’s just like Jesus Christ. The three shows leading up to Minneapolis it was pretty brutal after every show and then the day off — I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t stand and I was like “Alright guys” I pulled everybody in my room and I’m like “This is it, I’ve been doing this for a year and a half, my body’s having a mutiny on me here.” They were cool and we just shot for Portland and here I am and it’s been going good. I thought I would take it easy, I told myself when I started going back out, “Okay take it easy, you’re going to take it easy now” and I don’t know how to take it easy. I get up there and do my thing and pay the price after if I have to. Documenting the sugery as a series of video diaries is pretty revealing. Was that about creating a greater bond with fans or more for you to see yourself throughout the whole process? I mean at first it was just kind of a goof [laughs] like I want to see what I look like coming out of all this great anesthesia and all the great drugs they’ve got me on. I don’t know I guess I was a little nervous and I just wanted to film it – I don’t know it sucks, the whole thing sucks, I’m dropping off, missing a bunch of shows, a bunch of people were bummed. I just thought maybe show people what I’m going through and share this thing – lots of dudes are like “I’m f—ing invincible” even if that’s how I feel sometimes that isn’t the way life goes and it was cool to share it. People were stoked about it like, “Wow man that’s a pretty brutal thing to show” and it was pretty f—ing brutal those first couple of days. I had to have Pando, my merch guy – he was with me the whole time, lifting my legs into beg, it took me about a minute to stand and a minute to sit down or lay down. I just felt like doing it and even for my own posterity just to see this moment in my life and I guess I thought I might die or something under the anesthesia. My goddamn wife planted all these stories in my head and I was like, “Jesus Christ, stop telling me all this crap” and so I was like, “Maybe if this is the last time, f— it there it is.” It’s like this morbid thing going through my head but that’s just how my brain was thinking at the time. What part of the surgical process will most likely become lyrics or somehow influence Machine Head music? Thinking about almost dying maybe? Yeah maybe, something like that – I was going to say writing a song about a hernia would be super lame. [Laughs] I don’t know yeah, maybe the thoughts about dying. What was pretty cool when I went into the actual surgery room – my wife watches a bunch of shows like ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ and all the hospital shows, all the emergency room shows and I’m expecting it to be this f—ing totally dimly lit like, “Pass me the scalpel now! Stat.” I walk in and it’s this super brightly lit room and everyone’s like “Oh hey, how you doing?” And I’m like, “This isn’t like f—ing ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ what the f—?” [Laughs] I want to talk a little bit about the new live record ‘Maching F—ing Head’ Live. The album just came out, what do you like best about how you’ve evolved as a live band compared to what the ‘Hellalive’ album represented back in 2003? I think that the coolest thing about the live record for me, is that the ‘Hellalive’ documented up to ‘Supercharge’ where we were at in 2001/2002 and this is documenting up to where we are now –so the three records after that ‘Through the Ashes,’ ‘Blackening,’ ‘Unto the Locust.’ For me as I was going through the tracks and getting ready to mix them and we’re picking from all these different cities and countries and just listening to the fans, man The fans and the sing a longs and just chanting Machine Effin’ Head every three or four minutes and going on for a minute or so – it was amazing. When we started mixing it, we started listening to a lot of live records and a lot of live records now are like crappy studio records with a little bit of crowd here and there. There are screw ups on it, you can tell when the city changes and my voice is cracking here and there. There was a night where we were on fire and you’re going to miss a note here and there. Ultimately, as I started mixing it – I was just like the crowd needs to be louder I was telling the engineer the whole time “Dude, turn it up” and he’s like, “It’s making everything go out of phase” and I’m like “I don’t care.” We’re not the stars of this album, the fans, the head cases, those are the stars of this record. Listening to it, I got goosebumps – just listening to some of the live tracks it’s awesome. It’s amazing to walk out there and see those people lost their minds like they do. The head cases are intense. Robb, putting together the new live album for you, what was the biggest challenge when it came to differentiating between multiple recordings of the same song from an entire tour? My two criteria were if the band played it good [laughs], you know if we didn’t suck that night and sometimes you just hear something – there’s just a vibe, we’re playing with more power, if the drums are hitting harder, if there’s more spit going into the mic and the guitars are locked in tighter. Sometimes you just found a show where that happened a lot and then also how the crowd was, if the crowd was singing along, if the crowd was kind of quiet. We weren’t going to do something corny like fly in a crowd – we wanted the crowd to be the crowd from the shows. So those were the two things, a lot of times it was the band was on fire and the crowd was on fire too and it was almost like you could hear them feeding off of each other like they’re getting more pissed, we’re getting more pissed. It was just that back and forth and that was amazing to stumble upon when you finally find like “Oh s—t listen to that, that’s killer, that’s it” and you know it in a second. What can we expect after this current tour, going into 2013? You guys are done touring for the year – I hope you guys get a break. Yeah, for this year we got some stuff coming up and next year, we’re going out in March and April. It looks like we’re going to be doing some stuff in the summer, more touring. We’re going to start writing though in the beginning of the year or at the end of this year we’ll start writing. Do you think there will be a new record out next year? I don’t know if it’s going to happen next year, I’d love for it to happen next year – maybe some songs though. We might throw out maybe three or four new songs on an EP or on iTunes or do something where we just put up a song a month, maybe even just on the Internet or something. Who knows, just give fans something, I don’t necessarily think it needs to be a record that comes out. It can be new stuff that gets people talking and gets people excited and just put something out. Even for us, when we did ‘Through the Ashes of Empires,’ we put it out and it came out in Europe first and then when it came out in America six months later the label asked us, “Hey can you write another song to give people an incentive to buy it,” because if they’ve already bought the import from Europe which a lot of people had in America. It kind of lit a fire under us, we had to push, we had to put a new song together really quick. Just having that pressure in many ways made people stoked because they like the new song after something they had already heard for six months. It almost laid the foundation for the direction of ‘The Blackening’ and how it was going to go. I love the idea of doing something now and putting it out in April or May right before a summer tour and see how that inspiration takes us into the next record. I don’t know if it’s going to happen but that’s where my head’s at right now, that’s what I’d love to see happen. Full Metal Jackie will welcome Anders Friden of In Flames to her program this coming weekend. She can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com .
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images We’ve all been curious to see ‘Sound City,’ Dave Grohl ‘s star-studded documentary tribute to the legendary L.A. studio of the same name, and now the wait is almost over — provided you have a ticket to next year’s Sundance Festival. Sundance 2013, set to kick off Jan. 17 in Park City, Utah, will play host to a wide variety of new films from across the spectrum, and ‘Sound City’ will be among the new documentaries getting their first public screenings. It’s one of the most high-profile premiere outlets a filmmaker can ask for, and Grohl is understandably enthused. As he put it in a press release, “As a first time director, I am humbled to be able to share my passion for songwriting and storytelling with this incredible cast of legendary musicians, as seen through the extraordinary story of America’s greatest unsung recording studio, Sound City. Being included in this group of artists is a true honor, and the Sundance Film Festival is the perfect place to premiere a film about craft, integrity, and passion for art. I am over the moon!” Grohl has been hard at work on ‘Sound City’ over the last year, interviewing a long list of former studio clients and organizing jams with everyone from his former Nirvana bandmate Krist Novoselic to Rick Springfield to Slipknot ‘s Corey Taylor, not to mention kicking off a SiriusXM radio show dedicated to the studio’s history. Check out the trailer below, and start saving up for a plane ticket to Utah. Dave Grohl’s ‘Sound City’ Trailer [button href=”http://loudwire.com/foo-fighters-dave-grohl-taylor-hawkins-swap-places-to-honor-led-zeppelin/” title=”Next: Dave Grohl Drums in Foo Fighters Tribute to Led Zeppelin” align=”center”]