Röck Döts

Machine Head with Darkest Hour

Location: Turbinenhalle, Oberhausen
Date: 11/26/2014

Machine Head with Darkest Hour MACHINE HEAD returned with a great new record, "Bloodstones & Diamonds", a few weeks ago. The output entered the German charts at number 6, which is great, but even better, when you consider that bands like PINK FLOYD, FOO FIGHTERS, ANDREA BERG or QUEEN also released records in that week. The record combines all the stylistic paths the band has travelled: thrash metal, dark-melodic song, even some nu-metal reminiscences in 'Game Over', that could have been included on "Supercharger".

After a show in Cologne the other day, MACHINE HEAD do another NRW-show in Oberhausen. The Turbinenhalle is not sold-out, but it is packed with a lot of people. I guess about 2500 headcases attend to this show. But before they get to see their heroes, the audience gets to see DIABLO BLVD, which I miss, and DARKEST HOUR. The band has been always put in the metalcore-genre, because they released most of their records on Victory Records and toured with hardcore and metalcore groups. In fact they almost never used any breakdowns and were very influenced by Swedisch melodic death metal. Their most record output, "Darkest Hour", shows another side of the band. It is more melodic than ever and featured clean vocals in a prominent way. Most of today's setlist draws from that record, but it leaves out the tracks with any clean vocals. The crowd seems to be unfamiliar with DARKEST HOUR, but in the front rows you can spot some fans in the pit. At the end of the group's 30 minute set, old fans finally get their treats in form of 'The Saddist Nation' and the massive 'With A Thousand Words To Say But One'. And I am pretty sure that DARKEST HOUR could win some new friends during this show.

As the lights go down and the first chords of 'Imperium' blast through the PA, everyone knows that it is time for MACHINE HEAD. The thrash metal band seems to be in a great mood and enjoys every second of the show. There is a huge moshpit right from the very start. Singer/guitar player Rob Flynn knows how to thrill his audience with thrash hits like mentioned 'Imperium', 'Now We Die', 'Ten Tom Hammer' (this riff is one of the heaviest riffs in history!) or 'Bite The Bullet'. The setlist is a great mix of all the band's records. Even stuff of MACHINE HEAD's nu metal period is included: 'The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears' and 'Bulldozer' sound that heavy, that you might think, that the band never did any nu metal records. But I am a little bit surprised of the fact that only three new songs are played. I had expected one or two more treats taken from the band's new record.

The sound is very good for the standards of the Turbinenhalle. DARKEST HOUR did not have such a clear sound before. The lightshow is great as well, because it highlights the songs and puts the spotlight on the musicians who deserves it - mainly during solos. But Rob Flynn never gets tired to introducing the new bass player Jared MacEachern.

After a great final consisting of 'Aesthetics of Hate', which is introduced by the opening riff of METALLICA's 'One', 'Old' and the thrash metal epic 'Halo' the band leaves their audience after almost two hours of stage time. This show was the second to best show I have ever seen by the band and definitely the concert of the year! It even tops MORRISSEY and BEHEMOTH. Great show by a great band!