Machine Head - _The Burning Red_
by: Jody Webb (
In the past, I respected Machine Head because I thought they had their own sound, which I am finding to be an increasingly rare thing the more CDs I hear. But I never liked the music enough to be a fan. Now that _The Burning Red_ has seared my stereo, things are different! Rob Flynn has delivered what I consider to be the finest Machine Head album to date. While demonstrating the wisdom to avoid the staleness trap, Flynn simultaneously shows his deep talent by writing songs that are different -and- good. What it means is that Machine Head has mostly moved on from the simple, crushing tracks like "Ten Ton Hammer" to craftier cuts such as "Nothing Left". Fans, do not be distressed! The songs remain thick and muscular, and continue to feature that signature high pitched scream from the guitar pickups. In fact, the band achieves a supreme crunch on "Exhale the Vile". The only negative comment I have here concerns the notable influence from Korn on two of the songs. Did the new guitar player, Ahrue Luster, bring some baggage with him? Fortunately, it is a well done Korn sound, but whoever was responsible should check that baggage at the door next time. Finally, I never thought this before, but Rob Flynn has a great voice. Actually, he has a couple of great voices. I didn't know he could sing. I didn't know he could do throaty death metal. I sure didn't know he could rap. And I didn't know he could force his lungs to the point of failure, which happens on "The Blood, the Sweat, the Tears", at the end of which Flynn gasps "I'm gonna pass out..." before a collapsing sound is heard in the studio. _The Burning Red_ is balanced and good, through and through. My only question is, what is this fascination with burning things?
(article published 8/12/1999)
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