Machine Head has announced Australia and New Zealand tour dates for their smashing Burn My Eyes 25 World Tour. The dates take place in September 2020 and can be seen and purchased below. The band is also holding a contest to win tickets, with details below. Following the “An evening with…” format with no openers, the shows consist of two headline sets with the six members of Machine Head, including three original members (Robb Flynn, Logan Mader, Chris Kontos) performing all of their 1994 classic debut, Burn My Eyes (Roadrunner Records). The band just wrapped up their North American tour with many sold-out ragers and are kicking off a new leg of European dates next month. Watch the teaser announcement for the tour now!
Two acts, two guitars, no drum kits and three leather sofas. This might well be the most sedate gig London’s Camden Underworld has ever seen. Former Kyuss frontman John Garcia is back in the capital, but this time on a short unplugged tour billed as “An Evening With”. So instead of a full band we have leather sofas and War Drum’s Ehren Groban playing acoustic.
Despite the name suggesting otherwise, Bellhound Choir is a one guitar project from Denmark. The perfect kind of jam for a hot sunny beach around a campfire, and a fitting warm up for the night with Christian Hede Madsen’s smooth baritone and sparse guitar create a mellow combo of dark country and blues.
Where some metal musicians – for example Zakk Wylde – are known for their acoustic leanings, this is new territory for Garcia. Going unplugged allows the former Slo Burn/Hermano/Unida/Vista Chino frontman to show off a more sensitive side to his vocals in a way that’s only occasionally been hinted at on record. He’s always had a quality voice and a back catalogue filled with stoner classics and the stripped back sound allows Garcia to take centre stage from the comfort of his leather recliner and shine.
We get a few cuts from the new self-titled Garcia album; tracks like ‘The Bld’ and ‘Her Bullets Energy’ work well as mellow campfire numbers, but much like on record it’s the jumping riffs of the Danko Jones-penned ‘5,000 Miles’ that stand out as one of the best. The original numbers penned for this tour and potentially new album are a more straight ahead mellow acoustic numbers, but ‘Phototropic’ shows off Groban’s skill with an acoustic guitar; employing a series of loops to really build the layers of the song into something special, while his solo spot shows off some real Spanish classical flair.
Unsurprisingly it’s the Kyuss numbers that get the biggest cheers of the night, culminating in a one-two of ‘Green Machine’ and ‘Space Cadet’. Still sounding fresh even after 20 years, the old classics translate well to acoustic. Garcia still has a great set of pipes on him, but despite being a good show, the trouble with finishing on such a high note, however, is that it brings up that eternal question: when the hell are we going to get a proper Kyuss reunion?
WORDS BY DAN SWINHOE
Swedish melodic Death Metal warriors Amon Amarth are just finishing off one final jaunt round Europe before settling down to the hard task of stirring the blood of a follow up to their beast of an album, ‘Deceiver of the Gods’ (Metal Blade). Ahead of their recent show at a packed-to-the-pulpit Colchester Arts Centre (a converted church), riff-monger Johan Söderberg took time to fill in Ghost Cult on all that is happening in their world.
“It’s fun to play a church. I played one church before in the US, so this is the second time. It should have good acoustics. Churches were built for acoustics” grins softly spoken Amon Amarth guitarist Johan Söderberg. Later on Söderberg’s head will be whirling (in synchronized fashion with his band mates) and he’ll be cranking out heavy, catchy Viking metal to a fervent crowd. But backstage before the show, the unobtrusive man is a far quieter proposition than the riff god he’ll portray from the stage.
Amon Amarth are back doing what they do best – hitting it hard on the road, this time bringing their distinctive brand of Norse warfare to a whole host of smaller venues they’ve not visited before. “It’s been an old school traditional vibe, with the audience close to us. This is what we were aiming for, to have these intimate shows and also to get out in smaller markets we hadn’t played before.”
Normally when a band announces “An Evening with…” or “Back to basics” tour, it’s because their star is waning, and the “reconnecting with the audience” schtick is a way to mask a reduced demand. Yet Amon Amarth are still riding the crest of the ocean waves, and 2013’s Deceiver of the Gods their most critically and commercially successful album to date. But there seems to be a move from several bands, most notably Machine Head to bring their music to different, smaller venues, but to play more shows, actually pulling in bigger numbers across a tour than one marquee show would. “The down side is the perception, that maybe people think we’ve lost some crowd, or something, but that’s not why we’re doing this. This is just for something different because we’ve toured all the big markets already on this album, so this is for us. This is the last tour for the album, then it’s pretty much straight into writing because I never write on the road, I write at home.
“I started writing for the album before Christmas, when we had a break on this tour. I have some ideas that I’ll be working on when I get home. Then we have the rest of the year to come up with the songs. It’s always pressure in this band. Every album we make has always done better than the one before, so it’s always the pressure that you have to perform better, and do a better album next time.”
And there’s the crux, Amon Amarth have managed what so few can: continuous improvement and the art of tweaking and refining and step by step enhancing and perfecting a sound without straying from it. And Amon Amarth have managed to get bigger with each album, which is quite a rarity as these days a host of bands appear in a flash of glory before being dead and buried a couple of albums later, forced to reinvent themselves.
“It’s been a very slow on the rise!” Söderberg laughs. “With some bands they go straight up, and it’s easier to drop back down, if you have a slow progression, it’s easier to stay on the up.” Do you see it as a reward for a combination of improving professionally (technically and as a songwriter) and sticking to your guns (or, rather, hammers) in terms of what “Amon Amarth” is and does? “I think so, yes. We’ve always kept our style, and while we have changed, it’s not too much.
“Even when did the mini-CD the Under The Influence album, then we really tried to do something different and sound like a song in the style of other bands, but still some fans thought these we were regular Amon Amarth songs as well. Even when we tried hard to sound different, we still sound like Amon Amarth! When the five of us play together, it sounds this way. It doesn’t matter if we try to sound like something else, it sounds like us.”
To these ears, Deceiver of the Gods was peak Amon Amarth. They’d always had the catchy and the melodic, and their trademark Norse bounce, but on tracks like five-fister ‘As Loke Falls’ they opened the door and let out the Iron Maiden harmonies and licks that had bubbled beneath the surface, but never been allowed to flood into the sound.
“I like (to listen to) more traditional music when I’m at home, like Iron Maiden and other classic heavy metal. There’s so many bands these days, it’s impossible to keep up with every band, so I just stick to the old bands that I like.
“That (traditional metal) is what we always had as our influence, but these later albums, we now let that shine through compared to the previous albums. Of course, we still want to sound brutal -it’s also been the core of the band since the start, is that we have to keep that brutal sound (but) in the past we were (worried) ‘This sounds too much Iron Maiden, we can’t use that’ but on the last album, it changed and we were ‘Fuck it. Let’s use it’; if we like it lets go for it.”
Just as the Vikings hailed the Old Gods, so too their descendants, Amon Amarth, still worship the Gods of classic metal, and if that means they continue the path trodden so well from 1998’s Once Sent From The Golden Hall (Metal Blade) to the beast that is Deceiver of the Gods, with each step a stronger and bolder one than the last, then All Hail The New Gods!
Words by STEVE TOVEY
The kings of the American metal scene, Machine Head will embark upon a headline tour in the format of “An Evening With”. The tour is focused on smaller venues and no national openers. The band has done the evening with format occasionally in their career, always favoring fan favorite songs and deep cuts. This tour follows the recent announcement the band would play no arena tours, no headline festivals or similar fests for the entire album and tour cycle of the just released Bloodstone and Diamonds (Nuclear Blast).
Official Press Release:
Bay Area Metal Titans Machine Head will headline an exclusive tour starting this January, which will span all across North America! No support bands. No locals. Just a crushing two-hour set of pure fucking MACHINE HEAD!!!
“We’re doing ‘An Evening With’ MACHINE HEAD. Meaning: it’ll just be us, folks,” commented guitarist/vocalist Robb Flynn. “We are really excited about the idea, playing longer sets, throwing in some deep cuts, and just having our own world. Promoters in the US seem really stoked about it, some have said it feels like ‘an event’.”
In regards to the band’s decision to only headline for this touring cycle as well as no longer play festivals, Flynn elaborates:
“We’re not trying to have a good time with a bunch of people who don’t know who we are. If Machine Headthrows a party, big or small, we don’t want a bunch of ‘strangers’ there. This is about us and you guys, the die-hards! The Fucking Undesirables! We don’t care about the others out there. We’re here and we’re not going anywhere, if those people want to be a part of this, they know where to find us. So for the time being, and maybe ‘forever’ we’re done reaching out for them.”
V.I.P. ticket packages are now on sale at machinehead.soundrink.com! Packages include a meet and greet with the band, group photo with MACHINE HEAD, poster, flag, laminate, and Machine Headkoozie. In addition, everyone that purchases the VIP experience will be entered in a drawing to win an autographed Bloodstone & Diamonds electric guitar!
Confirmed dates are as follows:
1/16/2014 Phoenix, AZ – Club Red
1/18/2014 Farmington, NM – Top Deck
1/20/2015 Austin, TX – Red 7
1/21/2015 Dallas, TX – Gas Monkey Bar and Grill
1/22/2015 Houston,TX – Fitzgeralds
1/23/2015 New Orleans, LA – House of Blues
1/25/2015 Atlanta, GA – Masquerade
1/26/2015 Asheville, NC – Orange Peel
1/28/2015 Baltimore, MD – Soundstage
1/29/2015 Philadelphia. PA – Underground Arts
1/30/2015 New York, NY – Irving Plaza
1/31/2015 Allston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
2/3/2015 Montreal, QC – Corona Theater
2/4/2015 Toronto, ON – Phoenix Concert Theater
2/5/2015 Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom
2/7/2015 Pittsburgh, PA – Mr Smalls
2/8/2015 Cleveland, OH – Agora Ballroom
2/9/2015 Pontiac, MI – The Crofoot Ballroom
2/10/2015 Chicago, IL – House of Blues
2/11/2015 Des Moines, IA – Wooly’s
2/12/2015 Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
2/13/2015 Minneapolis/ St Paul, MN – Mill City Nights
2/14/2015 St Louis, MO – Fubar
2/15/2015 Kansas City, MO – Riot Room
2/17/2015 Denver, CO – Summit Music Hall
2/19/2015 Las Vegas, NV – Vinyl / Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
2/21/2015 San Francisco, CA – Regency Center Grand Ballroom
2/24/2015 Seattle, WA – Neumos
2/25/2015 Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw
2/27/2015 Calgary, AB – Flames Central
2/28/2015 Edmonton, AB – Union Hall
3/1/2015 Saskatoon, SK – Obrian’s Event Centre
3/2/2015 Winnipeg, MB – Garrick Centre
3/4/2015 Minot, ND – The Original
3/6/2015 Missoula, MT – Stage 112
3/7/2015 Boise, ID – Knitting Factory
Machine Headrecently made their entire Bloodstone & Diamonds album available for streaming at this location. The band’s Nuclear Blast debut and eight studio record is out now on several physical and digital formats. Order the CD, limited edition mediabook, box set, vinyl or the exclusive premium Machine Headguitar edition via this link: http://bit.ly/MACHINE-HEAD-BD-NBE.