MACHINE HEAD Frontman On 'Unto The Locust': 'We Really Set Out To Challenge Ourselves'

Greg Pratt of recently conducted an interview with guitarist/vocalist Robb Flynn of San Francisco Bay Area metallers MACHINE HEAD. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. Let's talk a bit about the new album ["Unto The Locust"]. I thought the last album ["The Blackening"] was really great. You hate to say "comeback," but the fire really came back last time. And I think this new one is, again, really good. How are you feeling about it?

Flynn: We're really, really proud of it. We really set out to challenge ourselves, both musically, lyrically, with storytelling, with arrangements, and try some stuff other bands aren't doing. Really be daring. Dare to fail. And we're stoked on the results. Why do you feel the urge to dare to fail? Why not just play it safe?

Flynn: There were a lot of people telling us we should just play it safe (laughs). We got METALLICA tours and Grammy nominations, and if it ain't broke don't fix it. Maybe it's just our attention spans are really short, I'm not sure, but that just didn't appeal to us. We didn't want to write "The Blackening 2". It had been almost five years since the last writing session. When we wrote for "The Blackening", we had pushed ourselves to the extent of our abilities. There's some really intense, dynamic stuff on there. Then we toured it for three years. At some point, what was the limit of our abilities became the new normal. So when we got done touring, it was like, "I don't want to be stuck with this box around what we can and can't do. Let's just go for it and see what happens." And we did. "The Darkness Within" and "Who We Are", for some reason, more than any of your other [songs], it feels like it's a big statement. It feels definitive. It feels like if this were the last album, it would feel like, "Okay, we've said what we need to say."

Flynn: That sounds like a compliment to me. I think it is.

Flynn: Yeah, we really wanted to make a statement. Not that "The Blackening" wasn't a statement. For the whole last six months of "The Blackening" tour cycle, all that we heard, every day, every interview, first question: how are you going to top "The Blackening"? At first we didn't really know because we hadn't started writing yet. After a while it just got so fucking irritating hearing that. In some ways it lit a fire under our ass, like, alright, we're going to show you. It wasn't about bettering "The Blackening". We're not trying to beat "The Blackening". For us, it's not about comparing the two. We just wanted to make a record that will allow "The Blackening" to stand on its own legs, and make another record that could be different and stand on its own legs. And that's what we shot for. Whether we achieved it or not, that's for the world to decide. But we feel that we challenged ourselves. Especially with "The Blackening", the accolades, it's amazing, it's humbling, but we still have this challenge, this desire, we want to go out there and change things and shake things up and, like you said, make a statement.

Read the entire interview from


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