Burn My Eyes
When Robb Flynn left San Francisco thrash act Vio-lence in 1992, one door closed and another opened. Flynn had other musical ideas in mind and before the years end, his new band Machine Head already had several demo tracks down that would eventually become the now legendary Burn My Eyes album. Joining Flynn, were bassist Adam Duce, guitarist Logan Mader (ex-Soulfly, ex-Medication) and original drummer Tony Costanza (ex-Crisis, ex-Crowbar). Costanza would soon be replaced by Chris Kontos (ex-Konkhra, ex-Testament) and that line-up signed with Roadrunner Records in 1994. Later that year, their debut Burn My Eyes would stun the metal world.
Kontos' drum roll intro to Davidian slaps you around the head instantly grabbing your attention before Flynn and Mader's crushing guitar tones and harmonics and Duce's rumbling bass signal what was then a new arrival on the metal scene. Of course, the intro is merely as taste of things to come before Flynn belts out the classic line “Let freedom ring with a shotgun blast!” Hailed in the same high regard as the opener, Old showcases a little more groove but as Flynn screams “Jesus wept!”, you know that the needle is still off the scale on the heavyometer. The faster paced A Thousand Lies is driven by an arpeggio like run and features a frantic solo courtesy of Flynn. The sedate, clean guitars that lead off None But My Own are soon laid to waste by a barrage of distortion with calm verses, rage filled choruses and a galloping climax. Kontos' rock-solid drumming steers the energetic The Rage To Overcome as opposed to the guitar driven Death Church.
Duce's menacing bass line and the band's ability for constructing amazingly dynamic songs could not be better showcased than on A Nation On Fire and the latter track, I'm Your God Now. Blood For Blood unleashes an onslaught of fury and aggression with lyrics that spit venom (“Give respect, 'Cause the rule is blood for blood!”). The almost instrumental Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies is focussed around a single riff repeated throughout that is layered with excerpts from several dialogs and news pieces before Flynn shouts the song's title and it segues into the relentlessly blunt, Block. Originally titled Fuck It All, this off time crowd favourite fittingly ends the album with another flurry of violence before coming to an abrupt end with an excess of distortion.
In a time when speed metal had declined, one time anti music video thrashers Metallica had recorded no less than five video clips and grunge was ruling the airwaves, out of the Bay Area breeding ground came Machine Head who with one vicious swoop had an unprecedented impact on the metal scene at that time in the form of Burn My Eyes. Its 11 ruthless and dynamic tracks are as highly regarded today as they were back in 1994.
(Roadrunner Records Records/Universal Distribution)