Back in 2011, a younger version of myself had began to delve into to the depths of a thick, sumptuous genre of music known as metal. One of the first more contemporary metal bands I got into through my own endeavours, after initially being lured into the genre through my Dad showing me Metallica and friends giving me a taste of the heavier cohort a la Pantera, leading to enduring fondness of others like Lamb of God, I quickly developed an admiration for the thunderous battering ram incarnation of rage that go by the name of Machine Head.
I remember going to get my Metal Hammer collectors edition release of the bands seventh studio album ‘Unto the Locust’ quite vividly, even more so the cathartic and chilling feel supplied when hearing the ritual-esque ceremonial absorbing softly song intro of album opener ‘I Am Hell’ that briskly transitions into a barrage of sledgehammer heavy epic Machine Head iconic display of unrelenting metal destruction. (Give the track a sample by clicking play, I promise you won’t regret it!)
The band accounts for a substantial section of the plethora of heavy music in my varied library and as such, as soon as I saw at the dawn of the year that they were coming to my city, tickets had to be purchased. Fast forward a few months and the day was upon me. Thursday 17th May 2018; an evening with the charming Machine Head gentlemen.
The feature of including no support acts appears quite the bold move, the sacrifice – as some may perceive it – however I feel would have been appreciated by the majority of Head Cases who gain from this proposition as resultant-ly they’re blessed with a Machine Head set that’s just shy of 3 hours! – Talk about value for money. Testament to the high quality back catalogue that they;re able to do so and still there are songs that would have been tough for them not to admit into the set-list.
Majors in the scene and in creating a bloody racket;
the band truly lived up to this reputation on the night! Performing a concert for nigh on three hours is in itself a huge feat, let alone delivering a rip-roaring fully captivating show executed expertly, which is exactly what the Oakland metallers did; put on one hell of a show. Not a gig to be forgotten quickly by any of the sold-out crowd attendees. Hands down the greatest crowd interaction I’ve ever witnessed first hand at a concert; being sat in the balcony gave me a prime view of the madness that ensued in the seemingly endless mosh and circle pits – which were dutifully commended by the band, who were further spurred on by such a great crowd.
The excitement levels rose a notch when the opening tones of ‘Now We Die’ sounded, as anticipation for that cathartic explosive barrage of instrumentation that the soulful intro promises was soon reached and everyone in attendance were instantly revelling in a metal heaven. Head Cases quickly let themselves go right into the glorious moment and the night only progressed positively from there!
Naturally we were treated to a host of numbers off the group’s latest album, including LP opener ‘Volatile’ that really raised the aggression levels inside the venue and certainly motivated everyone to move a little and express themselves to the glorious soundtrack. ‘Catharsis’ was truly brought to life as it sounded even more ignited and pent up than the studio version of the track, this song was quite the cathartic moment, the magic of the gig was abundantly in motion here.
There are simply too many highlights to be summarised adequately through this written justice, accounting for the huge setlist and in the interest of keeping this piece at a readable size! However, be assured the set transported fans passionately through a lot of Machine Head varying era highs we have been graced with over the years, including a brutal rendition of ‘Davidian’ and throwback to ‘Imperium’.
I felt desperate for them to play the glorious ‘Aesthetics of Hate’ and was extremely overjoyed when the opening riff sounded, a slight jaw drop and wide smile may have possessed my face temporarily! The Dimebag Darrell tribute is a masterful piece of work and again the band were a 10/10; undoubtedly on point, the execution of EVERY note was more than precise.
Finishing on potentially the bands greatest moment and certainly one of my favourite cuts, Halo went down exceptionally as fans rallied gallantly to the recruiting lyrics: “this is a call to arms, will you stand beside me” – a perfect way to end a perfect, extremely loud and headbang incurring evening, cheers!
Machine Head‘s latest album ‘Catharsis’ was released via Nuclear Blast on 26th January 2018 and is available everywhere now.
Read my review of the album here: http://bloggersgamut.com/albums/machine-head-catharsis-album-review/