The Burning Red

The Burning Red

Score

In positioning yourself forever on the cutting edge, you run the constant risk of being rendered obsolete yourself....

In positioning yourself forever on the cutting edge, you run the constant risk of being rendered obsolete yourself. For several years, [a]Machine Head[/a] boasted the heaviest, most crushing, most ferocious assaults modern metal could offer. Taking some time off after losing guitarist Logan Mader, they have returned to find the metal landscape almost unrecognisable from the days when their seminal ‘Burn My Eyes’ disc dropped.

We can merely be thankful that singer/guitarist Robert Flynn hasn’t donned Manson-esque fake boobs, for ‘The Burning Red’ finds [a]Machine Head[/a] scrambling to ape the new trends which swept metal while they were away. ‘Desire To Fire’ revisits their old strafing racket, but, minutes before its close, Flynn lets loose some seriously lame whiteboy rhyming. His band’s lumbering gristle no match for the chilling metal/hip-hop synthesis cooked up by bands like Korn or Limp Bizkit, the genre-splice is as clumsy as it is unconvincing. Elsewhere, we are treated to torturous power ballads, Flynn sounding like a super-morose Eddie Vedder. Perhaps the most obvious example of the band’s pandering to the newer audience, is the obligatory ’80s cover version (cf, Manson‘s ‘Sweet Dreams’, Orgy‘s ‘Blue Monday’, etc). [a]Machine Head[/a] cover Police‘s ‘Message In A Bottle’. And it is bad. Very bad.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, they say. [a]Machine Head[/a], sadly, couldn’t beat ’em. On this evidence, they shouldn’t even have tried.