Machine Head

Machine Head

The Burning Red


What the hell is “new metal,” anyways? Music journalese aside damned if I know. But, man, is it big with the kids, an aggro music genre that’s decidedly more urban than suburban, hence (in a marketing sense) more baggy jeans than black ones. With the subsequent commercial success of Korn, Limp Bizkit, and the Deftones, it’s enough to make a grizzled metalhead beyond-indignant about the erroneous “metal” tag, but that’s music marketing for ya. Besides, a music critic is supposed to critique solely on content, not form….

Which brings us to The Burning Red , the latest platter from Machine Head, a rising “new metal” kingpin that’s been afforded a good deal of critical — if not necessarily as much commercial — success. But that could all change with this one, because, frankly, it’s accessible and it smokes. Purportedly, Machine Head wanted to make the melodic moments on The Burning Red as melodic as possible and the heavy ones the heaviest, and succeed they do. Like their urban-core contemporaries, Machine Head’s guitarists chug to a deliberately violent backbone, with vocalist Robert Flynn scowling ‘n’ growling about all those traumatic moments that accompany life at the top; unlike their contemporaries, the California quartet’s rhythms don’t always go hip(pity)-hop. For all the browbeating that commences, there’s an acutely sensitive side to The Burning Red , made all the more apparent by Robert Smith-esque swirl-guitar melodicism – wounded psyche schmaltz, for sure, but it sure is tasty.

Older ‘edbangers might find it a bit difficult to swallow, but again, the kids will have their say. And mark my words, those same kids are gonna’ make Machine Head’s cover of “Message in a Bottle” a big (pants) hit.

Roadrunner Records, 536 Broadway, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10012;

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • The Reading Room
    The Reading Room

    Today’s episode features author Anna-Marie O’Brien talking about her book Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian: A Rock N’ Roll Memoir with Ink 19’s Rose Petralia.

  • Bush Tetras
    Bush Tetras

    Rhythm and Paranoia (Wharf Cat). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Tom Tom Club
    Tom Tom Club

    The Good The Bad and the Funky (Nacional). Review by Julius C. Lacking.

  • Barnes & Barnes
    Barnes & Barnes

    Pancake Dream (Demented Punk Records). Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • Jeremiah Lockwood
    Jeremiah Lockwood

    A Great Miracle: Jeremiah Lockwood’s Guitar Soli Chanukah Album (Reboot). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Metallica: The $24.95 Book
    Metallica: The $24.95 Book

    From an underground band that pioneered the thrash metal sound, to arguably the biggest rock act in the new millennium, Metallica has had a long and tumultuous history. Ben Apatoff scours a myriad of sources to catalog this history in his new book.

  • Araceli Lemos
    Araceli Lemos

    Shortly after AFI Fest 2021 wrapped, Generoso spoke at length with director, Araceli Lemos about her award-winning and potent feature debut, Holy Emy. Lemos’s film uses elements of body horror in her story about the exoticization of two Filipina sisters living in Greece and how that exploitation creates a distance between them.

  • Southern Accents 55
    Southern Accents 55

    A woofin’ good time with cuts from Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Delta Moon and more from KMRD 96.9, Madrid, New Mexico!

  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

    Absurdism with a healthy dose of air conditioning.

  • Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist
    Mixtape 172 :: My Old Bassist

    Like pre-teens throwing every liquid into the kitchen blender and daring each other to drink the results, Woody and Jeremy fuse all manner of sounds legitimate and profane into some murky concoction that tastes surprisingly good.

From the Archives