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Founded in 1992 by former Vio-lence guitarist Robert Flynn and Adam Duce. The first song on their debut album, "Davidian", features the lyrics "Let freedom ring / with a shotgun blast". Subsequently the video was banned from MTV due to its release date being very soon after the Waco Siege which it was apparently describing. Robb Flynn has since said that the song "Davidian" was not written about the Waco Siege but added that line to get people thinking.
After their debut album Burn My Eyes (1994) Chris Kontos left to work with Testament and a stand in drummer was used for Machine Head's Donington slot in 1995. After this, the drumming services of Dave McClain were acquired. They then released the followup album, The More Things Change in 1997, after which guitarist Logan Mader unexpectedly left in the spring of 1998. He was then replaced by Ahrue Luster (now of Ill Niño) who worked with the band on the third album The Burning Red (1999). This album was a sign of a change for Machine Head, the band deciding to experiment more rather than release another album that would be seen as just a shadow in the footsteps of Burn My Eyes. Robb uses his rapping techniques in this album rather than the growl he used on earlier releases. The song "Devil With The Kings Card" is based on Logan Mader's leaving of the band. The album did, however, receive some backlash from fans who weren't pleased with their change in style - some even accused the band of "selling out" and following musical trends (nu-metal and rap metal were becoming increasingly popular in 1999).
Although Burn My Eyes was more influential as an album to the metal scene in general, according to a Blabbermouth.net report, The Burning Red moved almost as many units in 3 years (1999-2002) as Burn My Eyes did in 8 years (1994-2002). In 2000, bands like Machine Head and Slipknot were involved in product placement for the HBO show The Sopranos. A.J. Soprano, played by Robert Iler, often wore Roadrunner Records apparel like Machine Head's Year of the Dragon T-Shirt.
Machine Head released Supercharger in 2001, though the album failed to do well, mostly due to it being released shortly after 9/11. The video for the song "Crashing Around You" was banned by MTV due to its images of a city skyline being over-taken by flames. This of course was not intended, the video was shot before the events of 9/11. The album recevied more of the same criticism that met The Burning Red. Once the tour had been completed, Machine Head left their record label Roadrunner Records. In 2002 Ahrue Luster left the band because of musical differences. Ahrue Luster was replaced by Phil Demmel, who played in thrash band Vio-lence alongside Flynn.
Since then, 2003 and 2004 have been somewhat of a revival for Machine Head, firstly releasing their live album Hellalive in 2003 which was a recording of a Brixton Academy, London set.
In fall 2003, Machine Head released their fifth studio album, Through the Ashes of Empires, in Europe. In early 2004 they re-signed to Roadrunner Records in America and then released Through the Ashes of Empires in the US, featuring an additional then-new song ("Seasons Wither") which had not appeared on the European release. Through the Ashes of Empires returned to a style closer to that of Burn My Eyes, and received significant publicity due to the success of the song "Imperium" and what was seen by fans as a massive return to form - both musically and lyrically. As part of this revival, Machine Head headlined the "True Metal" stage at 2005's Wacken Open Air festival in front of 40,000 fans - their biggest show to date. Through the Ashes of Empires debuted on the Billboard Charts in the US at #88 – an excellent showing for a band that was considered at one point dead-in-the-water.
On October 11, 2005, Machine Head released their first ever DVD: Elegies. The DVD contained concert footage from the Brixton Academy show in December of 2004. Elegies also contains 3 music videos: "The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears" from Hellalive, and "Imperium" and "Days Turn Blue to Gray" from Through The Ashes Of Empires. The DVD also contains a rather self-scathing documentary about the almost-demise of the band and how they survived the great burden imposed upon them by the record labels, the exiting of Ahrue Luster and the public's lack of faith in the band's musical direction. In the DVD's first week of release, "Elegies" reached the #13 spot in US and the #6 spot in UK music-related DVD sales.
As well on October 11, 2005, Roadrunner Records released an album to commemorate the 25 years of the label's storied history. Four of the songs on the album, Roadrunner United: The All-Star Sessions, were written by Robert Flynn of Machine Head. Both Phil Demmel and Dave McClain of Machine Head contributed to the album. Roadrunner United was a project conceived by the label to showcase the talent of the dozens of bands signed to Roadrunner Records. There were 4 "Captains" assigned to write songs for the album: Robb Flynn of Machine Head, Dino Cazares ex-Fear Factory, Matt Heafy of Trivium, and Joey Jordison of Slipknot. Each "Captain" had to choose which artists were to participate in the recording of their songs, and they were to be primary producers. The album saw an all-star cast of artists from such bands as: The Misfits, Killswitch Engage, 36 Crazyfists, Sepultura, Soulfly, Slipknot, Cradle of Filth, Type O Negative, Fear Factory, Coal Chamber, Ill Niño, Vision of Disorder, Trivium, Opeth, Stone Sour, King Diamond and Deicide, among others.
Machine Head contributed a studio recorded and produced cover of Metallica's "Battery" for Kerrang! Magazine's 'Remastered', a tribute to Metallica's seminal album Master of Puppets.
On October 31st 2006, Roadrunner Records announced that as part of their 15th Anniversary, they will be re-releasing Burn My Eyes with a bonus CD, which includes previously unreleased tracks and rarities. It was said to be due out on January the 8th, 2007 but was been pushed back to September 2007 so it did interfere with the release of 'The Blackening'.
'The Blackening' was released in March 2007 (26th UK, 27th US) to critical acclaim. The UK magazine Metal Hammer gave the album 10/10 and proclaimed it 'absolutely fucking stunning'. The UK version of the album included their cover of 'Battery' (as mentioned earlier) as a bonus track at the end of the album and a bonus DVD which featured a 'Making Of The Blackening' as well as live footage from Machine Head's appearances on the 2006 US Sounds of The Underground tour. The album was a hit worldwide, as it reached #16 in the Mainstream UK Album charts (surpassing their all-time first week sales in the UK), #54 in the US Billboard charts, #12 in the German charts (beating MH's previous first week sales record in Germany), #14 in Australian charts, #19 in Sweden, #23 in Ireland and #36 in the French album charts.
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