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2001 – Part 1.3: Machine Head – Supercharger

The Evergrey “In Search Of Truth” post and “Origin Of Symmetry” by Muse post were meant to be part of this large post, however after I finished writing all of the posts they had a lot of words in there to be part of one post, so they ended up as separate posts.

The Machine Head post will be 1.3, the upcoming Megadeth post will be 1.4 and the Ozzy post will be 1.5.

Machine Head – Supercharger

Supercharger is their fourth album.

It came out just weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and it got lost in the aftermath. Roadrunner also gave them zero promotion and to this date, its considered a commercial failure by the label. They even went on tour for the album without any label support which was a slap in the face to the band as Robb Flynn has admitted that “The Burning Red” and “Supercharger” were albums that Roadrunner pressured them to do, so they could break into the mainstream.

But when the mainstream didn’t come, Flynn said that the band was going to return to “what we they did best”.

It is also the band’s last release to feature lead guitarist Ahrue Luster and as a by-product it set in stone the next 15 years.

For me, this was the first album I purchased from Machine Head.

And in relation to the album being a commercial failure, in a 2015 interview with LouderSound, this is what Robb Flynn had to say about it.

“Supercharger sold 250,000 copies. If that’s a disaster, I’ll take it.

We played nine shows in the UK, all sold out, and the US tour was mostly sold out, which was a first.

Every night when we play “Bulldozer”, that whole theory that everybody hates “Supercharger” gets completely stomped into the ground. We play “Bulldozer” and it’s one of the top five reactions of the night, every time”

After a minute of “The Declaration”, the iconic riff of “Bulldozer” kicks in. Listen to the drumming from Dave McClain in the intro. In the live arena, this song is powerful, mosh pit powerful.

“Full steam we go against the odds, headfirst we go against the grain”.

But the lack of solos is going with the grain, as between 1999 and 2005, there was a “no guitar solo” movement. This song was missing a ripping lead.

“Crashing Around You” is a great hard rock song. It was the only single from the album and it had a film clip with a burning San Francisco skyline and stuff crashing down around them.

It was pulled from MTV and rock radio because the term “crashing” was found to be offensive.

But the lyrics are excellent, the music grooves and having this song pulled from every promotional outlet definitely hurt the band. But the fans loved it.

When they pulled this song out for the concert, the place went nuts.

“Kick You When You’re Down” sounds like a track from the “Catharsis” album with its catchcry about believing in yourself and following your heart.

“Only the Names” deserves more attention. This Robb Flynn penned track is classic Machine Head merging all the doom from the early era. Tracks from the current era even sound like this song. That distorted riff would sink submarines it’s that heavy. Early Tool comes to mind here.

“All in Your Head” is one of my favourite Machine Head tracks. That intro, especially live, is head banging material and in its essence it’s basically a hard rock song.

“American High” kicks off with a Tarzan like vocal chant, which is actually the riff of the song. It sounds like the guys are having fun and Flynn brings out some of his spoken word raps in the verses but this song got slammed by the reviewers, for the Tarzan chant.

“Nausea” feels like a Deftones style track especially in the verses.

“Blank Generation” reminds me of early Tool. It’s Aggressive with a capital A.

“Trephination” has a cool bass riff to kick it off.

“Deafening Silence” keeps building until it explodes towards the end.

“Supercharger” has a great intro riff, but that dissonance Korn style riff in the first part of the verse didn’t enhance the song in anyway.

The Japanese version has a cover of “Hole in the Sky” from Black Sabbath as its bonus track. A lot of fans saw this as a weird choice considering the nu-metal style of the album.

But from a rhythm guitar point of view, there is a lot here to unpack.

And after being exposed to Machine Head by various band members this album was my first financial commitment to the band, so it holds a special place in my history.

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6 thoughts on “2001 – Part 1.3: Machine Head – Supercharger

  1. Yeah, 250.000 album is nothing to sneeze at. Not bad at all. Today that would be one of the biggest selling albums of the year. I only know of these guys, but might be worth listening to an essentials playlist to dip my toes in their water.

  2. Pingback: 2001 – Part 1.5: Ozzy Osbourne – Down To Earth | destroyerofharmony

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