MACHINE HEAD frontman Robert Flynn recently took time out to update the group's fans on the songwriting process for the group's new album, tentatively due in late 2006/early 2007 via Roadrunner Records.
"So what does are new shit sound like?" Flynn wrote.
"Well... it doesn't sound like [METALLICA's] 'Master of Puppets' [as Flynn was quoted as saying in a Revolver magazine article] all that much... at least yet. I guess I'll try and explain it like this. It's pretty varied, has elements of all the records, and has a semi-'Through the Ashes of Empires'-ish vibe, and definitely NOT a 'Burn My Eyes Pt. II' vibe. It's not 'back to the roots.' We have about four songs that I think are 80% to 90% there musically (not lyrically), and we have another 9 or 10 parts (intros / bridges / verse with a chorus / half songs) floating about that are definitely NOT there. As of now (Jan. 9th, 2006), we have no 'Imperium's or 'Descend the Shades' and our feeling is that if we can't come up with a new 'Imperium' that kicks the old 'Imperium''s ass...well...we're just gonna try something else.
"Of the four songs I'm really excited about, Dave [McClain, drums], Phil [Demmel, guitar] or myself have written the bulk, and Adam [Duce, bass] has brought in lyrics and a chunk of riffs too. Even though Phil was there for part of the writing process of 'Through the Ashes of Empires' (and co-wrote three songs), Phil being part of the whole writing process is adding another, very cool dimension to it all. In fact, the one song that I'm most excited about was penned largely by Phil, with me adding some melodic three-part guitar harmonies / two-part vocal harmonies in the bridge, plus a SEPULTURA-style thrash / lead part in the middle, Dave's added some Keith Moon-style drumming in the bridge which sounds crazy, but kicks serious ass, and Adam is hitting some ball-squeezing high notes that will have Rob Halford smiling (...about the high notes, not the ball-squeezing *cough*). Since we don't have many titles right now, that one I just mentioned is jokingly called 'In The Presence Of Davidian Jr.' (mainly for its mid tempo). The bridge to this song is on some serious U2-gonna-make-you-cry-worthy-ness.
"I think most of you will be interested to know that … a lot of the lyrics had taken on a more social nature, and a less personal tone (at least for now). They have also taken on a very depressing nature as well — though I don't know why — it's just what I've been feeling like writing about. The lyrics that I think are really working well are the ones that are the most depressing, including some about suicide, or the idea of suicide.
"Of the other songs, 'Iron Rush-ian' (as it is called by our manager 'cause it has a MAIDEN / RUSH vibe to it) was the first completed of the four. We like to call it 'Notey Intro / Mega In Chains'. It has a cool up-tempo vibe, a part that reminds me of old MEGADETH a little, big 'The More Things Change…'-era breakdown in the middle, dual leads... it's rockin'... but has no lyrics.
"There's 'Priest Harbor -aka- Victim Of Changes III', which has an 'Elegy'-ish vibe to it, though longer and more complex, it has a very melodic PRIEST-ish chorus, cool build-ups, and heavy breakdowns, fast parts, leads, harmonies galore, and vox harmonies galore too. Overall it's pretty melodic musically / vocally and I could see RR eyeing this for a single, though at six minutes that'll be a stretch.
"The fourth song is jokingly called 'The Thrash-terpiece!', and it's what the name implies, fast as all hell, with a full-on 'Blood For Blood' / 'Struck a Nerve' / Bay Area thrash vibe to it. Probably the fastest song we've written in 10 years, and though it doesn't sound like it, is probably the most difficult song (guitar-wise) we've ever attempted to play (down-picking / million-note mania). Cool, very complex bridge / lead section that takes it in a musically melodic direction, with trade-off leads and harmonies. No singing at all, just hard vox. It's the one song that is also the most finished lyrically, and the only song with an actual title. It's called 'Aesthetics of Hate' and it's my take on neo-con and Dimebag critic William Grim, and people like him. Some of you may remember that the song 'Independent' (Max's [Cavalera] and my song from the 'Roadrunner United' album) was very loosely based on the same topic. This is my much more pointed, specific and pissed off take on it.
"You've probably seen the word 'complex' pop up a buncha times, and it's fitting. It's musically complex, though it doesn't sound it, and that seems like a good thing.
"The guys have unanimously chosen 'your boy here' to produce the album again, and between 'Through the Ashes of Empires' and my production work on the 'Roadrunner United' album, I feel really confident going into this next record.
"We took a break for the Roadrunner [anniversary] party / holidays and began jamming the other day for the first time in six weeks... WHEW... YIKES! To quote Lemmy, 'If we practiced next to your house, we would have killed your lawn!' We'll get back into it though, and I feel like the break did us good, gave us perspective."