Revolver has teamed with Machine Head for an exclusive vinyl variant of their new album, ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN. Only 500 made — order yours now!
Machine Head have had a uniquely resilient career. Throughout 30 years of frequent lineup changes, stark stylistic pivots, label misadventures and piercingly emotional songwriting, Robb Flynn has steered his ten ton ship through thick and thin, and unlike many bands, has penned some of his most popular tracks throughout his group's third decade of existence.
After a few records in the 2010s that took a turn toward the melodic, Machine Head have started the roaring 2020s with their most brutally destructive material since the early Nineties, proving their longevity and staying power yet again. We asked our readers to pick the best songs they've ever released, and nearly every era of the band got a nod. See the top five vote-getters below.
Machine Head's 2007 album, the Blackening, is a mid-career peak that reaffirmed the band's status as one of heavy metal's leading groups by leaning into their most ambitious writing tendencies and bringing the heavy thunder without completely leaving their epic tunefulness in the dust. Opener "Clenching the Fists of Dissent" is a total fucking assbeater stuffed with raged-up political outcries — "They say that freedom isn't free/It's paid with the lives of sons and families" — and all the trappings of a crushing Machine Head track.
If there was any question of whether Machine Head could hang in the power ballad setting, "Darkness Within" smashes all doubts. The haunting centerpiece of 2011's Unto the Locust begins with Flynn's husky, almost country-like singing over clean strums, but eventually it takes off into a full-on rocker that excises his mental health struggles with considerable force. Rarely are a band as heavy as Machine Head able to mold their sound into something quite this catchy and emotionally gripping.
Another one of the Blackening's longer tracks, "Halo" clocks in at nine minutes but earns every bit of its lengthy runtime, displaying the full range of the band — from twisted grooves and stink-face-inducing riffage, to emotionally charged clean choruses from Flynn and a fucking insane guitar solo. It moves between softer and heavier and cleaner and dirtier passages without ever feeling awkwardly stitched together, and Flynn's lyrical criticisms of the death-drive of religion don't miss a beat. "Halo over our demise/Following a god so blind."
For many years, "Imperium" served as Machine Head's go-to show opener — and for good reason. The starting pistol for the band's 2003 LP, Through the Ashes of Empire, begins with a haze of smoky guitar leads and suspenseful drumming that gradually builds until Flynn lets rip a mighty, "HEAR ME NOW!" While Roadrunner Records' U.S. branch notoriously let the band's contract run out prior to this release, Machine Head used that adversity to recalibrate from their nu-metal phase and tap into their shreddy thrash roots. Their tenacity, plus the album's strong sales, was enough to make the label reconsider.
Machine Head's 1994 debut, Burn My Eyes, begins with a double-barrel call to action — "Let freedom ring with a shotgun blast!" Based on the violent Waco Siege of 1993, "Davidian" set the bar for Machine Head's furious groove-metal sound right from the jump, and while they've met its level of sonic intensity and political fervor many times throughout their career, they've never surpassed it.