Shows off a well oiled and refined touring machine

For a group that was ready to disband in the early 2000s for various reasons, Machine Head have been riding a vastly resurgent wave of momentum ever since they returned to their roots with 2003’s Through the Ashes of Empires. This has resulted in an abundance of touring to every corner of the globe, delivering an aggressive live show that gives 110 per cent night, after night. So the timing is right for a double live album that showcases those blistering performances and what Machine Head stands for in today’s day and age.

Recorded at various stops on their Unto The Locust world tour, you aren’t going to hear any of the dark, emotional experimental tracks or any of their attempts at nu-metal (that nearly killed them). Instead, you get a 100-plus minute, relentless assault of 15 tracks that come at you like a violent mob attacking from all sides. They draw from the cream of the crop of their back catalogue, ranging from their earlier days in “Davidian”, “Old” and “Ten Ton Hammer”, two of the better songs from their controversial period, “The Blood, the Sweat, the Tears” and “Bulldozer” and plenty from the last few releases like “Imperium”, “Aesthetics of Hate”, “Halo” and “Darkness Within”.

Performance wise, Machine Fucking Head Live shows off a well oiled and refined touring machine firing on all cylinders as an orchestra of destruction delivering a show like it was their last. The riffs are ballsy and thick, the leads cut through like a knife, the rhythm section pounds away and Robb Flynn’s vocals sound at turns like a general ordering troops into war or a clean and heartfelt approach.

If there’s a criticism, it’s the crowd noise. Any good live album has to have the crowd included, but it seems like there may be some studio trickery here slightly pushing the crowd up higher in the mix at various points. A perfect example is the intro for “Who We Are”. If I really wanted to hear someone drunkenly and flatly “singing” along in earshot, I’d go see the band in the flesh. I guess it only adds to recreate the atmosphere of a live Machine Head performance in the end. The other complaint is that there is no visual companion to this; a DVD and/or BluRay companion would have only added even more to the overall experience.

Overall, this delivers what it says on the tin  – Machine Head delivering a live performance that is in your face with no bullshit, no gimmicks – just a band playing their music to thousands of dedicated legions of fans worldwide. This will hopefully tide you over until the next time Machine Head roll through your town.

Disc 1:
1 – I Am Hell (Sonata In C#)
2 – Be Still and Know
3 – Imperium
4 – Beautiful Mourning
5 – The Blood, the Sweat, the Tears
6 – Locust
7 – This is the End
8 – Aesthetics of Hate
9 – Old

Disc 2:
1 – Darkness Within
2 – Bulldozer
3 – Ten Ton Hammer
4 – Who We Are
5 – Halo
6 – Davidian