Machine Head’s Burn My Eyes Turns 25

We spend a lot of time talking about Machine Head around HQ, and rightly so. They are one of the most influential bands in metal, specifically their very early years 1994 -1997 and their fertile middle era 2003 – 2011. It all started with the granddaddy of them all, Burn My Eyes (Roadrunner Records). Not only was this album a banger right from the get-go, but Machine Head became one of the preeminent bands throughout the 1990s on Roadrunner, along with Type O Negative, Sepultura, and Biohazard. We’re not here to go through the entire history of the band which has done a bit before but instead call attention to the highlights of this album and why it still holds up.

Recorded while Los Angeles was actually on fire from the Rodney King Riots, Robb Flynn took his 1980s Thrash pedigree (Vio-Lence, Forbidden Evil) and married it to the grooves of early 1990s metal and hardcore to create the explosive music first heard almost anywhere on BME. The slamming beats, stomping bass, crushing riffs, the intelligent political and personal lyrics, and great guitar solos really made their mark on early-to-mid 1990s metal. The furious pace of most of the album put it right there with some of the best metal albums of that era, not just as a new critics darling (they were), but as a serious band to be reckoned with. In just a few short years of opening for Slayer, Sepultura, and Pantera, and destroying at metal festivals the world over; in no time the band would be a headliner in their own right. They have been one ever since.

The foundations of the band are all in BME and you can hear threads of their future musical selves in these songs. ‘Davidian’, with its insane opening drum fill and riff from hell is an all-time classic. ‘Old’, ‘A Thousand Lies’, ‘The Rage To Overcome’, ‘Death Church’, ‘I’m Your God Now’ are belters, and ‘Block’ has been in the setlist for the majority of the bands’ career.

Burn My Eyes would go on to be one of the best selling released Roadrunner ever had in the 1990s, along with Bloody Kisses by Type O and Slipknot’s self-titled album later in the decade. Most importantly, this album is in the pantheon of metal history as a debut album, and for the genre as a whole. You can feel their influence in every band from Trivium, Alien Weaponry, to Conjurer. Raise a glass and throw those horns for Burn My Eyes at 25. We’re looking forward to the reunion tour this year and next!

KEITH CHACHKES