Machine Head - Burn My Eyes
Roadrunner Records
Modern Thrash
11 songs (55:30)
Release year: 1994
Machine Head, Roadrunner Records
Reviewed by Al

Eleven years ago grunge was in the process of dying, Pantera were at the height of their power and Korn were weeks away from releasing a ‘nu’ breed of metal that would eventually be distorted beyond taste and decency with the help of a baseball cap wearing troglodyte who shall remain nameless. It was a strange time for metal as the old school was undeniably stale with many of its heavyweights falling to commercialism or obscurity. There was a hankering for something different and it was in this climate that nu-metal was first spawned and rap metal rose to mainstream prominence. This melting pot also birthed a band called Machine Head.

Being in my early teens when all this was going on and in possession of a narrow musical palate I never heard them. It was years later in the late nineties when my tastes had taken on a more metallic vein that I was introduced via an album called ‘The Burning Red’ to the aforementioned. On first listen the band struck me as being another acolyte to the nu-metal manifesto and a few tracks aside I was left quite unimpressed. A month or two later however, I discovered ‘Burn My Eyes’ and after the initial disbelief I felt at realising it was the same band I purchased it and enjoyed it with gusto. I had heard Davidian many a time before and liked it but the sheer quality and brutality of the album hooked me and I became a fan,

This brings me to the present where the band has released five studio albums of mixed quality over their eleven year career. Two superb ones in the form of this album and ‘Through the Ashes of Empires’, a good one ‘The More Things Change’, an average one ‘The Burning Red’ and an absolutely dire one ‘Supercharger’. Looking over the history of reviews on this site I was surprised that their most important album was lacking a review and decided to do something about it. This however started an inward debate as whether or not to list it as a high scoring archive review or a classic.

The entire album bar one track is of an impeccable standard, with every track having its good points so rather than trawl through an in depth analysis of each one I’ll pick out a few highlights. It had been a while since the cd had graced my stereo so in it went. As the harmonic-heavy intro to the now legendary Davidian kicked in I felt the fine hairs on the back of my neck stand up and memories of a hundred moshpits came flooding back. If by some miracle any of you haven’t heard this track, go seek it out and listen to it. It is one of the finest examples of modern thrash there is, brutal, dynamic and exhilarating. This track has never lost its power and is one the great gems of the scene. This promptly brings me to my favourite Machine Head track, Old. The track features one of the most mind blowing main riffs to ever grace my ears combined with superb bass work, gloriously over the top lyrics and fantastic tempo changes. I’m Your God Now begins with a brooding and darkly beautiful intro with some of the only clean singing present on the album before slowly building into a juggernaut of heavy riffs and double bass drum work. The final honourable mention goes to Block which closes the album with an exclamation point of epic proportions combining the best of what had just gone before.

The only criticism I can bear against it is that Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies is unnecessary filler and does not have any real place on the album. It does nothing but break up the flow between I’m Your God Now and Block. However considering the other material on offer I’ve always found this forgivable.

One listen to this disc firmly reminded me what was so exemplary about it and it still sounds fresh even after all these years. The musicianship is top notch and Rob Flynn's vocal performance here was undoubtedly his finest. Despite the varying quality of their subsequent albums, this was one of the finest releases of the 90’s. If you are cynical due to Machine Head’s later work or have only heard ‘Through The Ashes…’ and liked it, I urge to you to give this a try. I live in hope that Machine Head will carry on their current form and not slip back into the doldrums of the late 90’s. Even if they do, it will never prevent me from enjoying this with a passion. A firm classic in my eyes.

Killing Songs :
All except Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies
Al quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Machine Head that we have reviewed:
Machine Head - Unto The Locust reviewed by Goat and quoted 81 / 100
Machine Head - The Blackening reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 97 / 100
Machine Head - The More Things Change reviewed by Al and quoted 85 / 100
Machine Head - Through The Ashes Of Empires reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 92 / 100
Machine Head - Supercharger reviewed by Danny and quoted 68 / 100
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