10/27/10

Machine Head - The Burning Red (1999)


I've been aware of the existence of Machine Head for probably ten years but for some reason I never began listening to them. Thought I had better things to do. It's kind of a shame how limited my musical sphere was, say, ten years ago, but then again, at the age of 13 I probably didn't get as much out of music as I do now. So, I'm extremely glad that I have found Machine Head now, however late it might be.

1999 seems like a very good year when it comes to alternative (American) metal. Machine Head's The Burning Red, Korn's Issues, Slipknot's s/t, Limp Bizkit's Significant Other... I see 2000-2001 as the year when there was a huge rush of nu metal bands, and also when all the true ass metalheads began to bash nu metal. But 1999 was before all this.
(This is only my opinion and my age probably affects this: I started to listen to heavier music around 1999, I was fucken 13 and used to listen to Spice Girls before..)

Anyway. Ross Robinson produced The Burning Red. The famous Mr. Robinson who has worked with Korn, Deftones, Sepultura and all the other awesome new wave metal bands. This explains a thing or two.

What I love about The Burning Red is that although it can be categorized as nu metal, it has a lot of elements of heavier genres of metal as well. At times the sound is _very_ heavy. This cannot be related to the "normal" sound of nu metal, e.g. Limp Bizkit, because the sound is SO much more mature. The low guitars, the slower tempo and especially the raw vocals create this. I LOVE Robert Flynn's vocals in Machine Head because he has such a masculine voice, which is ideal for creating that heaviness. Mature heaviness. Also, he is able to incorporate a lot of emotion into some of the songs, such as Five, which is a song about child molestation from the child's perspective. I can imagine Ross Robinson whipping the emotion out of him on this song..

What has made this album so popular are some of the genious riffs (e.g. in The Blood, the Sweat, the Tears - one of the best riffs I've ever come across. I'll embed a video of this at the end.), (vocal) melodies and the occasional rap vocals that can appeal to other than metalheads as well (e.g. in From This Day ... Geez that video is a nice trip back to the late nineties :D Awesome spiked hair, bright orange sweatsuit and of course the dreadlocks on the guitarist which make him look like Head, formerly of Korn.) In addition, the compulsory sappy song + the suicide song (The Burning Red) add to the popularity factors and are ideal to e.g. all the desperately depressed teenagers.
That compulsory sappy song is an extremely surprising choice: a cover of the Police's Message in a Bottle. I hadn't heard the original song, gladly, but when I heard Machine Head's version I was like... this fucken cannot be their original song! And I was right. But I must say that it is an amazing cover. I cannot listen to the original Police song, it is TERRIBLE, but this Machine Head's version is just awesome.

Here's a live video of The Blood, the Sweat, the Tears. Sexy.
(It sounds like Rob introduces the song as The Blood, the Sweat, the Piss.. Hmm :)



Rating for The Burning Red: 9/10.

I'm hoping to get my hands on Machine Head's Burn My Eyes at some point. Thus far, in addition to this, I've been listening to Supercharger and Through the Ashes of Empires.

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