ma­chine head


Metal Hammer (UK) - - Reviews - STEPHEN HILL

Robb Flynn and co prove they can go the dis­tance


of a three-hour-plus set, front­man Robb Flynn ad­dresses the crowd to ex­plain his band’s de­ci­sion to play such a mam­moth set. “We needed to do some­thing else,” he be­gins. “We didn’t know if it would work, but we love it! But it doesn’t mat­ter how much we en­joy it, it’s how much you en­joy it! So, let me ask you, have you en­joyed an evening with Ma­chine Head?” The roar of the sold-out Roundhouse is proof that those in at­ten­dance cer­tainly do ap­prove, and that some­times a leap of faith can play div­i­dends.

Ma­chine Head’s re­cent al­bum, Cathar­sis, may be di­vi­sive, and surely no one would ar­gue it’s them at their very best, but in the live en­vi­ron­ment Ma­chine Head have rarely, if ever, failed to de­liver. That be­ing said, how many bands in our scene could re­ally fill an en­tire evening of all-killer, no-filler heavy metal? It’s not many, and that’s the chal­lenge that Ma­chine Head face in this for­mat. It’s a more than promis­ing start when they can waltz on and plough straight through clas­sics like Im­perium, Beau­ti­ful Mourn­ing and The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears within the first five songs. Robb is in typ­i­cally bullish and rab­ble-rous­ing form, egging the throng for­ward and ham­mer­ing seven bells out of his gui­tar as he does so and the sound inside the venue is crys­tal clear, with Dave Mc­Clain’s drums sound­ing es­pe­cially huge as they pound and groove in all the right places.

Ob­vi­ously with so much in the set it can’t all be per­fect. A fairly ho-hum gui­tar solo sec­tion from Phil Dem­mel could have been dis­pensed with. Also, while peo­ple may have a lot of nos­tal­gic affin­ity with ma­te­rial from The Burn­ing Red, From This Day re­ally plods in 2018, and although there is a quirky charm to the flash­ing po­lice lights and overblown drama, Triple Beam doesn’t re­ally in­spire. These are mi­nor quib­bles, though, when you get ev­ery facet of Ma­chine Head’s ca­reer dur­ing one set: the power of Old, the spit­tle of Aes­thet­ics Of Hate, the weight of Ten Ton Ham­mer and the pas­sion and beauty of the show-steal­ing Dark­ness Within. The lat­ter fol­lows a pas­sion­ate speech from Robb on the an­niver­sary of the death of Chris Cor­nell about the ela­tion and ded­i­ca­tion mu­sic can in­spire that raises the hairs on the back of ev­ery neck in the build­ing. So, to an­swer your ques­tion, Robb: yes, as usual, we had a bloody bril­liant time with

Ma­chine Head this evening.

Robb – and ev­ery­one else in the room – em­braces the cathar­sis Phil Dem­mel re­ally

puts his back into his work

Party time at the Roundhouse!

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