Machine Head

Do you want to “fuck shit up?” Or “jump the fuck up?” Or do something other “[insert verb and a curse here] up” for that matter, in the safety of your home? If so, then perhaps the new Machine Head live album, Hellalive, caters the goods for you. Recorded at Brixton Academy, London, England in 2002, Hellalive offers us 78 minutes of material walking between semi-thrash and nu-metal. The setlist covers their discography nicely with about four songs off from each of their albums.

Sound-wise Hellalive can be said to have been in good hands. Each instrument comes off crystal clear, without sounding like a studio album. The crowd is heard screaming every now and then and Robb Flynn interacts with the people pretty good. Still, even when guitars use the stereo sound for their max effect, I had a feeling like I was watching (or more like listening) the show from a balcony. Might be just me, but a slightly more compact (i.e., claustrophobic) soundscape would have done the trick better.

Some of the songs, especially those off from the band’s latest albums, seem to have gotten an adrenaline injection and they sound a bit more interesting than normally. On the other hand, the songs from the band’s debut, Burn My Eyes, didn’t all turn out as good as on album. Perhaps they’re bored with people bitching about the (possible) drop in quality from CD to another. Or perhaps not. Perhaps they’re just sick and tired of having to play “Davidian” all the time and have built up a routine for it. Or again, perhaps not. “None But My Own” had a nice ending though.

Since I’m not the band’s most dearest follower, it’s easy to understand that the album didn’t exactly inspire me to tear my furniture apart nor did I get any subliminal messages and harm those in my near vicinity. I was also able to learn that “From this Day” begins with tunes stolen from “Raining Blood.” In a way, I kind of hoped that it would have been a Slayer cover, since it would have sparked up my interest again. All in all, I guess I would have to have been on location to really appreciate the effort put on this album; the band seems to have a good time and so does the crowd. And that’s always a positive sign. Definitely for Machine Head-fans only. I’ll just have to go back to a Decade of Aggression myself.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mikko K.
March 11th, 2003


  1. Commented by: Old Pick Axe

    What can I say? I’ve been a fan since “Burn My Eyes” came out when I was a sophomore in high school. And I love “Davidian.” Just a helluva song.

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