Speaking of bands I should never have stopped listening to: Machine Head! I love those guys but again, I haven’t been keeping up with their output since I was in high school. So my Remedial Metal 101 album of the day is their latest, Bloodstone & Diamonds from late last year. I blasted that shit while I did the washing up and cooked dinner, because that’s the kind of badass mofo I am.
(Food tangent: for the first time in my life I cooked and ate squash, and for the second time in my life I cooked and ate swede! Vegetable level: expert. Squash confused the hell out of me on spec, but once I figured out to treat it like a yellow zucchini I was sweet.)
Anyway, Machine Head. This is going to sound like the weirdest lead-in for this, but I remember reading a review of Muse’s Absolution back in 2003 that half-jokingly posed the question “If they start out with the end of the world (the opening track was “Apocalypse Please”) where do they possibly go from there?” And the answer turned out to be many, many places besides, but I’m reminded of that because I had the same feeling listening to the beginning of Bloodstone & Diamonds. “Now We Die” is so epic, so sweeping, so apocalyptic a song that it was hard to know where they were going to go when that was the opening song. But once again the answer to that question was many, many places besides.
There’s something about Machine Head, about their sound. It’s awesome, to use the word not as a synonym for good but in the true sense of the word, meaning something vast and awe-inspiring. They hit you with an absolute barrage of heavy metal brutality, but do it in a very big way, creating something truly epic (dare I overuse the word). They are heavy, in the sense of having weight and heft, not simply hitting things hard and fast.
“Now We Die” is a great song, as stated. “Night of Long Knives” is another good one; the title was the mother of all teases to my history-minded brain, but it is a violent assault of a song worthy of the name. But “Game Over” is the real highlight for me. It has those signature Robb Flynn “Fuck you motherfucker!” lyrics (if Robb Flynn was a rapper he would drop the world’s greatest diss tracks) and another mammoth chorus. It sounds like a song I’ve already listened to a thousand times, and I mean that in the best possible way.
I’m now twice as devo that I couldn’t get off work to go see them when they came to town a couple weeks ago. I already saw them supporting Slipknot years ago, but they would have been a blast, and I’d have been moshing this time. Never mind. But fool me once, so I made sure I bought a ticket to And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead today. Not missing out on that for the world.