San Francisco Bay Area metallers MACHINE HEAD will release a new single and music video on Tuesday, April 12. A short teaser clip is available below.
MACHINE HEAD‘s new full-length album is tentatively due this summer. The follow-up to 2018’s “Catharsis” will include the three songs that were featured on last year’s “Arrows In Words From The Sky” single: “Become The Firestorm”, “Rotten” and “Arrows In Words From The Sky”.
Much of the new MACHINE HEAD album was recorded at Sharkbite Studios in Oakland, California with producer Zack Ohren.
This past February, MACHINE HEAD bassist Jared MacEachern told Primordial Radio about his contributions to the band’s new album: “I think that I was very aware from day one that Robb [Flynn, guitar/vocals] is the leader, he’s the creative leader, the musical leader… We all have our inputs but I think it’s always understood that ultimately the decision is up to him for how things go. But, yeah, I definitely made contributions and I feel great about those contributions and I’m asked about my opinion on certain things. But, like I said, I’m following his lead.”
As for the musical direction of the new MACHINE HEAD material, Jared said: “It’s a pretty — to use Robb‘s word… I believe he used the word ‘colossal’ the other day. It’s a pretty big-, epic-sounding album. We’ve been toying around with the order, but I’ve been listening, sitting down, taking the time to listen to it all the way through, and the way it goes, it’s a ride — a really great, heavy, beautiful, melodic, raging, thrashing ride.”
Last December, Flynn offered an update on the album’s progress during an episode of his “No Fuckin’ Regrets With Robb Flynn” podcast. He said: “I’m in the studio right now. In fact, we started yesterday — Zack and I were in the recording studio finishing up the new album, working on the new album. It’s coming along. Right now, they’re setting up in there. They’ve got Navene Koperweis [of] ENTHEOS, ANIMALS AS LEADERS and a million other bands — he is setting up drums and he’s gonna be laying down some heat with the drums. Yeah, it’s going really good — [it’s] been really, really productive. And we’re kind of getting towards the end here, man — we’re getting towards the finish line. The finish line is in sight, and I haven’t been able to say that for a long time.”
He continued: “If you recall, Navene is the dude who played on ‘[Become The] Firestorm’, ‘Arrows In Words From The Sky’, ‘My Hands Are Empty’, he played on ‘Circle The Drain’. Yeah, it’s comfortable. [He’s] a local guy, which really helps.
“We’re probably gonna be dropping some new songs pretty soon,” Robb added. “Then the record will be dropping probably end of summer. We’ve gotta wait till the vinyl all lines up ’cause the vinyl takes fucking forever now. Nine-month lead time on vinyl. Adele just shifted 130 thousand copies of vinyl first week. Dude, it’s crazy. All these fucking major labels are clogging up all of the vinyl pressing plants now. So, yeah, it’s been a challenge. But we’ll be dropping some songs on the DSPs, digital service providers.”
Flynn and MacEachern previously said that they were “making great progress on at least six different new songs, including a 10-minute-plus epic.”
In November 2020, MACHINE HEAD released a single, “My Hands Are Empty”, via Nuclear Blast. The song marked the first musical collaboration between Flynn and original “Burn My Eyes” guitarist Logan Mader in 24 years.
“My Hands Are Empty” was just one in a line of singles to be released by MACHINE HEAD, which issued “Do Or Die” in October 2019, “Circle The Drain” in February 2020, and the two-song digital single “Civil Unrest”, consisting of “Stop The Bleeding” and “Bulletproof”, in June 2020. “Stop The Bleeding” featured guest vocals from KILLSWITCH ENGAGE frontman Jesse Leach, and was written and recorded just days after the murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery.
Flynn previously said all three tracks from the “Arrows In Words From The Sky” single as well as “My Hands Are Empty”, would be included on the band’s next full-length studio album. “And the other stuff is just gonna stay kind of in whatever void it came out in — and probably be released on a collection of songs with a bunch of other B-sides at some point, a physical version,” he told the “Behind The Vinyl” podcast last June. “But for now, these four songs, and then some future songs, are gonna make up the next record.”
Asked if the “turbulent” nature of the last couple of years was a good thing for him creatively, Flynn said: “Oh, totally. I’m an impatient man. [Laughs] I want it, and I want it now. And the music business can be mind-numbingly slow at times. And certainly with the pandemic now, just the lead time to set up a record is, like, seven months. Vinyl is fucking seven months. If I turned in a record today — done, mastered, finished, artwork, everything — we’re not gonna get the vinyl until seven months from now. I’m, like, ‘This is fucking crazy.’ And I don’t wanna wait; I just wanna put it out.
“When I started in the [1980s] thrash scene, bands put out demos and fucking rehearsals and new songs every month or two,” he explained. “I had every EXODUS song released just from bootlegs and from demos and stuff like that. Same with METALLICA. And it was just so much faster. And the world has just kind of shifted into this extremely slow — certainly the metal world has. And I wanted to bring it back to that… Yes, I’m not releasing a cassette tape, but yeah, I’m putting it out so that if the diehards wanna hear it, you can fucking hear it. And consistently do that — consistently put out music so that it’s constantly giving the fans, the diehard fans, the Head Cases, the ones who fucking live and breathe this shit, something to chew on every three or four months. And I really dig it. I think it’s amazing. And I think that we have the technology — thanks to Spotify and all the streaming services now — [so that] we can do this shit. So why not?”
Ten months ago, MACHINE HEAD announced that it was abandoning plans to resume its “Burn My Eyes” 25th-anniversary tour now that the pandemic is slowing down. Flynn said that the “Burn My Eyes” tour, which saw him and MacEachern play the band’s classic debut album in its entirety for the first time ever, with original “Burn My Eyes”-era drummer Chris Kontos and Mader joining in, would not pick up at such a time as MACHINE HEAD can continue touring. Flynn also confirmed that MacEachern is still a member of MACHINE HEAD alongside new recruits, guitarist Wacław “Vogg” Kiełtyka (DECAPITATED) and British drummer Matt Alston.
MACHINE HEAD will team up with Sweden’s Viking metal overlords AMON AMARTH for a co-headline “Vikings And Lionhearts” European arena tour in September and October. Support on the trek will come from THE HALO EFFECT, the new band featuring five former members of IN FLAMES: Peter Iwers, Daniel Svensson, Jesper Strömblad, Niclas Engelin and Mikael Stanne.
“Catharsis” was the final album to feature guitarist Phil Demmel and drummer Dave McClain, who both left MACHINE HEAD in October 2018.
Demmel, who was in MACHINE HEAD for nearly 16 years, during which time he played on five of the group’s studio albums, told the “In The Pitts Of Metal And Motor Chaos” podcast that MACHINE HEAD ended up becoming a Robb Flynn solo project toward the end of his time with the group. “We weren’t a band,” he said. “That was Robb‘s trip, and we were basically just being told what was gonna happen… Everything had changed over time. Shit, we were together for 16 years and stuff changes after that. It’s been the band that he started. So things shift, and as they weren’t what we agreed to or what we wanted to be a part of, [Dave and I] just left. So we do our own thing, and [Robb] does his thing.” Demmel also said that the musical side of MACHINE HEAD took a sharp turn for the worse during the writing stage for “Catharsis”, an album he said he hated.
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