Machine Head have released two new songs that were finished in response to the killings of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery in the US — you can watch the gritty video for ‘Stop The Bleeding’, a collaboration with Killswitch Engage‘s Jesse Leach, below.
‘Stop The Bleeding’ is the A-side of the two-song digital release ‘Civil Unrest’, while ‘Bulletproof’ serves as the B-side. A significant portion of the proceeds from streams of ‘Stop The Bleeding’ will go to the Grassroots Law Project, the organisation representing Floyd, Arbery and Breonna Taylor and their families.
Explaining more about their decision to release ‘Stop The Bleeding’, which was originally recorded in December 2018, Machine Head vocalist and guitarist Robb Flynn said: “I wrote and sang the lyrics on Wednesday May 27 2020, the day that the four officers who murdered George Floyd were [originally] not charged with anything. This day was engulfed in protests and riots across America.
“I drove into Oakland past large demonstrations already happening, and in a fury wrote down everything I was feeling after watching the horrific footage. Within hours what I wanted to say, what I needed to say, had been recorded in the song.”
Machine Head have accompanied the release of the single by sharing the video for ‘Stop The Bleeding’, which features both Flynn and Leach. Directed and edited by Mike Sloat, the clip was shot on location on the streets of Oakland, while Leach’s part was filmed remotely in Kingston, NY with David Brodsky. You can see it below.
Speaking about working with Leach, Flynn said: “I had been speaking with Jesse for maybe six months about singing on the song, as it always had a little bit of a Killswitch vibe to me. Unfortunately (or fortunately), our schedules hadn’t lined up, but with the subsequent lockdown from coronavirus, we had time to make it work. After what happened to George Floyd, I sent him the lyrics I’d written and he replied saying he was “100% on board”.
“Jesse is someone I consider to be a pioneer and in many ways, one of the men who changed the face of metal. His contribution to this song made it extremely powerful, and it’s an honour to have him be a part of it.”
Leach repaid the compliment by saying it was “an honour” to be asked to contribute to the track.
“Yes, because it’s Machine Head, but more importantly, this is a message that needs to be heard and spread,” he said. “These issues concerning abuses of power and racism are timeless. I have written about these previously and I’ll write about them again. I think Robb really nailed this one, both lyrically and sonically.
“My hope is this song helps awaken those who hear it,” Leach continued. “Robb has been a frequent voice of the voiceless in these times, so teaming up with him is a no-brainer.
“We need more of our Metal Community to speak out on social issues and help raise awareness, especially during these crucial times. Music is the soundtrack to our lives, it transcends language and culture. This is the reason we as musicians need to do our part to spark thought and discussion on these types of issues. We can make a difference through music and we can help stop the bleeding.”
Speaking about ‘Bulletproof’, Flynn said that the lyrics “were finished in the aftermath of not only the Ahmaud Arbery murder at the hands of white supremacists, but everything twisting out of control in our world.
“The isolation and craziness of the pandemic, the lockdown protesters storming government buildings with AR-15s, as well as the blatant lies and conspiracies pouring out of our political leader’s mouths, hour by hour, day after day.”