Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn has published a lengthy journal entry in defense of the band's polarizing new album Catharsis, praising last month's effort as a "phenomenal record" despite its meager first-week sales (8,761 units in the U.S., less than half of what 2014's predecessor Bloodstone & Diamonds raked in) and lukewarm critical reception.
Flynn proposed two major causes for Catharsis' less-than-stellar showing: 1) the downfall of physical media, made worse by metal community's general resistance to the emergent "streaming society," and 2) "a veritable hurricane of negativity, online hate, and belligerent-ass-reviews."
"I really do gotta give the biggest SHOUT OUT humanly possible to the Head Cases of America who have stood their ground through a veritable hurricane of negativity, online hate, and belligerent-ass-reviews to go out there and grab this album," he said, tipping his hat to the diehards. "Frankly, it's a miracle we did those kind of numbers!! The sheer vitriol aimed at myself and the band, is to put it mildly, staggering. We make no apologies."
Later, the frontman addressed the brash lyrics and stylistic left turns heard on songs like "Bastards" and "Triple Beam" (a folk-rock screed against white supremacy, and a rap-metal meth PSA, respectively).
"There was MUCH discussion that went into the lyrics and subject matter on this album along the way," he said. "In the past we might have left songs off that weren't 'metal enough.' I could have toned down the lyrics, or even over-analyzed them, I could have softened the bluntness of them. We could have compromised and removed any music that could be deemed "controversial" to Metalheads (ie: "Bastards" or "Triple Beam").
Haters aside, Flynn remains convinced of the album's staying power. "In the years to come, when the tale of this record is told, I'm gonna think back to the first week of this journey, and be reminded of the Head Cases that weren't afraid of what their 'Elitist Metal Brothers' thought of them," he reflected. "The Head Cases that weren't afraid of opposing viewpoints. The Head Cases that don't continually tell musicians to "shut up and play. The Head Cases that were unafraid to take a chance on (all modesty aside) a phenomenal album that speaks of love, and life, and sex, and darkness, and ugliness, and that occasionally gets ignorant as fuck!"
Read Flynn's post in its entirety below.