Review: “Civil Unrest” by Machine Head

Oakland California Thrash Metallers Machine Head have been around the block and then some. Their 25th Anniversary tour trek celebrating their seminal debut album “Burn My Eyes” should be taking place as this twin track single “Civil Unrest” is released but instead the band are at home waiting out the storm of Corona Virus and the civil unrest around race relations in their native US. So owning a studio and having debuted a collection of stand alone singles since their mixed blessing of an album in “Catharsis“, a politically charged and socially aware surprise release, shouldn’t been that much of a surprise. What is, is the presence of Killswitch Engage vocalist Jesse Leach on the title track and in the accompanying music video…

So what have we got? We’ve got a track in “Civil Unrest” that sounds for the first time in a while, inspired. The rage to overcome that Robb Flynn has in his heart has been focused and shines on this. A track that sounds as if it sits between the styles of “The Blackening” and “Unto The Locust” in the riff department, the guitar tone being like “Wolves” from the former, with those classic lead moments that are so obviously Machine Head, it makes you wonder what’s been occurring. Add to that the accompanying vocals from Jesse Leach, who both sings and screams along, the vocals intertwining rather than being separated and you’ve got a winning formula. As long time Machine Head fans will no doubt be asking,  where has this kind of material been in recent times? Taking more of an old school Thrash route with a killer drum sound “Bulletproof” continues the vitriol against the system with venomous groove and blood spitting vocals. Again the question comes over the quality as it’s impressively good and very much lyrically of now with mentions of Corona Virus and the state of World Address in America. The solo is a solar flare, the riffs are electrifying and tight and this pairing are classic Machine Head [8.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Civil Unrest (ft. Jesse Leach of Killswitch Engage)
  2. Bulletproof

Civil Unrest” by Machine Head is out now via Nuclear Blast and can be heard here.

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