Machine Head’s “Circle the Drain”

Machine Head’s new release “Circle the Drain” is classified as an “anti-Valentine’s day” song. Put out on the amorously associated day of February 14th; I first heard it while at the gym that morning. And what an absolute BANGER of a track. Machine Head frontman, Rob Flynn, and whoever is alongside him – continue to produce metal hits that push the genre to new levels of excitement and intensity.

I first started listening to Machine Head a few years after they released The Blackening album in 2007. In hindsight, this was probably one of the best albums released in the 2010s of any genre. It was this record that they tapped into something so incredibly unique in terms of mood, tempo, sound, overall style and themes. This album they created something that was purely Machine Head and they have been reaping the rewards ever since with albums like Unto the Locust (2011), Bloodstones and Diamonds (2014) and their last record Catharsis (2018). All of which have continued to work and strengthen the sound that was discovered back in 2008.

While Machine Head is not without controversy, namely in terms of band members coming and going from their line up. Many attribute this to possible personality clashes and artistic disagreements with frontman Rob Flynn. Now, I’m not in the band, so what do I really know- but the man is clearly a visionary. He is an auteur of metal, music and culture. Obviously, there are going to be some conflicts in the interest of creating something visionary. You cannot argue with what this guy comes up with. He is a genius and boy, does he know how to put on a good show. He is so incredibly passionate about everything that he does that it is infectious.

Those who don’t enjoy their music, I have a really hard time having a conversation with. Yea, but why don’t you like them??? No real reason. Guess they can’t stand the power and brutal force of their sound. I have shown Machine Head to friends, even taken some of them to concerts. Those who have come to concerts were instantly converted to Headcases – the bands nickname for our maniac fanbase. I have seen them several times. Probably the best show I saw was when I was in Philadelphia  for the Superbowl Parade in 2018 (I am also a massive Eagles fan, it’s actually a bit of problem – just ask my wife). I was at a bar just having a great time when I requested the song “Bastards”, a song of their new album that I knew would be a hit, and as it was playing someone heard the name of the band and has this pensive look on their face. They then told me that they are almost certain they are playing tonight at a venue not far from where I was. So, naturally, I rallied about some of the bars patrons and watched down to see the show. It was electric. I got body checked so hard in the mosh pit, I slid through people. Like a bowling ball striking out a full set of pins. People flew everywhere. It was madness. It was awesome. At one point during a break between songs I yelled: “I’m from Vancouver!” Robb Flynn laughed and said over the microphone “what are you doing here then?” And everyone starting chanting E-A-G-L-E-S! It was unreal. Pretty sure I chipped my tooth.

So naturally, any time Machine Head releases a new song. I go into a different head space where I listen, very intently on the new track. No one can distract me. I don’t know much about music literature, in the sense of reading sheet music and chord progressions – but I can tell a good song when I hear one. And this is a good song. It employs some synch sounding beats and varied chord progressions that have become so popular in current music but in a way that makes the song more biting overall and tells a fuller story. It gets heavier as the song carries on to a venomous and voluminous cadence that is characteristic of the Machine Head sound. The lyrical themes are about a love gone wrong. Most of us have all been there. It is chaotic, it is poisonous, it is dark – and yet you can’t escape. The relationship is serving more as a drug, a high you keep chasing but can never obtain. It escalates into further darkness and so, you are, as the title suggests: circling the drain. The song itself delivers this message of love lost with purpose and clarity. Something that a lot of music seems to lack these days.

I will admit, I am probably not the best critic to review this song – or even this band due to my affinity for them. That said, if you like Machine Head, and more specifically some of the more recent sounds and albums they have put out. Then you will indeed get into this track. It is awesome. Enjoy listening fellow Headcases!

Give it a listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=To_4s0WE8vo

-RG

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