Machine Head: Burn My Eyes 25th Anniversary TourHouse of Blues Orlando Jan. 26th 2020
As the date grew closer I began my usual search to find out who the opening band(s) were and what the set list would look like. I spent several minutes scrolling through Google and Facebook but was unsuccessful in locating any information regarding any other acts being scheduled to perform. It wasn’t until I saw the set list from two days prior that I made a remarkable discovery. A two-set, twenty-five song performance. There would be no opening band(s) to prime the crowd. No tease to get the adrenaline going. Reason being, none were needed. What was in store for the fans was a three-hour heavy metal gut punch , delivered ferociously, at the hands of MACHINE HEAD!
The band was in town to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their debut album, Burn My Eyes. To be able to see this show at The House of Blues in Orlando was going to be special. Machine Head was banned from performing by Walt Disney Properties in 2007 due to political views surrounding their album, The Blackening. The group was also depicted as having “undesirable fans.” Now, in 2020, the fans were here, and Machine Head was ready to unleash all of their pent-up animosity, in a thrashing metal display for the ages.
As the house lights dimmed and Ozzy’s Diary of a Madman played throughout the venue, the chants of “Machine F***ing Head” rose to a fevered pitch. Front man and founding member, Robb Flynn, led the charge into the first set accompanied by bassist Jared MacEachern, guitarist Vogg Kieltyka and drummer Matt Alston. As the band launched into Imperium, from their 5th album, Through the Ashes of Empires, it was evident how they have survived and continued to thrive for close to thirty years.
Flynn’s powerful and gritty vocals were front and center throughout the night. He even brought out his acoustic guitar for a haunting rendition of Darkness Within. Vogg Kieltyka dazzled the crowd with a searing guitar solo during Aesthetics of Hate and the circle pit was slamming during Ten Ton Hammer. As the first set neared its end, the band belted out a captivating cover of Iron Maiden’s Hallowed Be Thy Name. The call for crowd surfers was answered during Halo, which was the last song of the first set. During the brief break between sets, fans did their best to catch their breath and ready themselves for what was yet to come.
The second set was a reunion of sorts and consisted of the entire Burn My Eyes album. Flynn and MacEachern were joined on stage by former members Logan Mader (guitar) and Chris Kontos (drums). The band wasted no time as they pulverized the audience with hits such as Davidian, Block and The Rage to Overcome. Mader’s medusa-like dreds put on an enchanting display while he showed off his prowess on guitar. As the nearly three-hour show was winding down, the band pulled one more trick out of their heavy metal bag. Fans were treated to a medley of hits from metal favorites Metallica, Alice in Chains, Rage Against the Machine and Slayer. Machine Head has been around for nearly three decades and show no signs of slowing down. They are proud of their old school mentality. The More Things Change……. (2nd album), the more Machine Head will stay the same.