For 24 years now there has been an unbreakable bond in the UK, an alliance that has always stood their ground and a family that has never given up. The explosion of Machine Head's genre defining 'Burn My Eyes' debut back in 1994 and infamous support slot to Slayer’s European tour did something to the UK metal scene. A loyal fan base of dysfunctional misfits drawn to this certain type of aggressive music was formed. A type of music that fills a void inside every one of them. That fan base has remained in tact and continued to expand as the years rolled by. They call themselves 'Headcases'.
With over 40 dates under their belts in support of what can be only be described as a confrontational new album, Machine Head have finally hit the UK, their home away from home. Smashing the convention of how we digest live music and making it their own. This isn't any normal show, this is An Evening with Machine Fucking Head.
No support bands, just 2,900 headcases each night ready to rage the evening away in two completely sold out shows at the infamous Roundhouse in the heart of London. Even before the doors for the venue are remotely close to being open, the excitement can be felt in the air. Its electric. As the venue fills the chants of ‘Machine Fucking Head!’ are echoed throughout the building like a battle cry. Ozzy Osbourne’s 'Diary of a Madman' pumps through the PA as over a thousand headcases admire the bands brand new bloodstained stage setup in all it’s gruesome glory. Ozzy’s classic comes to an epic conclusion followed by something a lot more earth shattering as the first riff of 'Imperium' rings out.
The stage becomes engulfed in shades of mesmerising blue as Robb Flynn, AKA The General, steps out on that stage and demands fists in the air as the band erupts into 'Imperium' with possibly the loudest ‘HEAR ME NOW!!’ London has ever heard.
In standard Machine Head fashion there's not a soul in the room that isn't losing their mind as the band smash out banger after banger. 'Volatile', 'Now We Die' and 'Beautiful Mourning' sound monolithic but the band reaching into the locker and pulling out golden oldies like Blood For Blood, Ten Ton Hammer and None But My Own is making the air electric .Both sold out nights at the Roundhouse have really dictated how much of a killer back catalogue Machine Head have to fall back on, from the raging classics to long forgotten rarities, with it being far from over.
The songs from 'Catharsis' sound huge! From the title track to the groovy nu-metal esque bounce of 'Triple
Beam'. All the tribulation the band faced at the beginning of the year gets turned on its head and smashed down the throats of all the naysayers.
Referencing another recent school shooting back home in the US, Flynn’s powerful statement about finding solace in music couldn't be any more relevant with the state of the world we live right now. These powerful words Flynn preaches makes the Roundhouse pour every drop of energy they have into screaming the words of 'Darkness Within' back to the band. As the old saying goes “Don’t expect to receive if you’re not willing to give”. This phrase couldn’t be more relevant as Flynn demands the biggest circle pit of the night before playing one single note; boy does he receive with 'Killers and Kings' being the driving force of a mass vortex of limbs nearly circling the pillars of the infamous venue.
When you start to think the band are done surprising you, the riff for 'Hallowed Be Thy Name' sends a ripple of shivers throughout the venue. A cover that could even be argued as a improvement on the original assumes a mass sing-a-long to the classic Iron Maiden melody. A deafening sing-a-long to Halo concludes what has been an emotionally intense and beautiful night and as confetti cannons rain down on the headcases there's a real sense of pride to be had amongst everyone tonight.
This wasn’t just a triumphant weekend to be a headcase but a triumphant weekend to be a metalhead full stop!