Thursday, December 29, 2011

Machine Head

After discovering vocalist Robb Flynn through The All-Star Sessions (see last post), I felt obligated to listen to the band he's actually from. And can I just say, I'm very glad I did.

Artist: Machine Head

These guys have been compared almost ad nauseam to the likes of Pantera and Slayer, in terms of their heavier and thrashier metal style. That common connection is not without merit however, seeing as Machine Head has even covered one of Pantera's songs.

Throughout their existence, Machine Head has experimented with other sounds, most notably their nu/rap metal deviations off of the album Supercharger. While the majority of their fan base tends to resent that divergence in style, I personally respect and enjoy it, so I'll leave the final judgement up to you as the listener.

Some of their standout tracks include;
• Halo
• Locust
• Hallowed Be Thy Name (Iron Maiden cover (one of the best I've ever heard))
• Davidian
• Aesthetics of Hate
• Kick You When You're Down
• Now I Lay Thee Down

If you're interested in Machine Head's more Pantera-like songs, you'd be best to explore their earliest (Burn My Eyes & The More Things Change...) and latest (Through the Ashes of Empires, The Blackening & The Locust) records. The middle section (The Burning Red & Supercharger) in between those two periods is where you'll find their nu-er sounding material.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The All-Star Sessions

If this sounds like an awkward name for an album, that's probably because it's far from what could ever be considered traditional.

Album: The All-Star Sessions
Artist: Roadrunner United

This one takes some explaining.

In 2005, Roadrunner Records wanted to celebrate their 25th anniversary. To do so, they embarked on this ambitious, ridiculously inventive project. See, there were these four "team captains" that were chosen to lead 57 artists from 45 past and present Roadrunner bands, and produce/contribute to/oversee the album's 18 tracks (Joey Jordison, Matt Heafy, Dino Cazares & Robb Flynn).

If this sounds unique, just wait until you hear the record itself. Words cannot describe how entertaining it is to listen to hardcore punk and heavy/nu/thrash/death metal songs put together by musicians from vastly different groups. For example, a song featuring ex-Misfits vocalist Michale Graves also features Killswitch Engage bassist Mike D'Antonio among others.

Some standout tracks include;
• I Don't Wanna Be (A Superhero)
• No Way Out
• The Rich Man
• Army of the Sun
• In the Fire
• Enemy of the State

In true All-Star spirit, if you intend on listening to this album in its entirety (which I strongly recommend doing), keep track of which songs you liked the most, and then at the end go to Wikipedia to find out which one of the four "captains" was in charge of each particular song you enjoyed. Tally up your results and see who came out on top for you.

For me, Robb Flynn was the victor, defeating Matt Heafy and Joey Jordison by the slimmest of margins, and leaving Dino Cazares in the dust.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


A while back, one of my close friends showed me this group, and ever since then I've always been intrigued by them.

Artist: AFI

An alternative rock/punk rock/post-hardcore band from the 90s, AFI has been on the scene a while, and they've certainly left their mark for those who've heard of them. Personally, I would consider them a staple of the more modern punk rock "movement" following up the greats of the 80s.

What makes this group so remarkable is their blending of alternative styles with the tempo and feel of punk. While their older works stay truer to straight punk-rock, they've since broadened their horizon, expanding their sound.

Some noteworthy tracks include;
• Miss Murder
• The Days of the Pheonix
• Summer Shudder
• Girl's Not Grey
• Silver and Cold
• Love Like Winter

Fun fact, for anyone who wants to verbally talk about this band, it's pronounced "A-F-I," as it stands for "A Fire Inside."