Machine Head Lets Freedom Ring with a Shotgun Blast at the House of Blues
Band Photo: Machine Head (?)
Machine Head was the first show that I actually bothered to pay money for since seeing Behemoth two years ago. “Unto the Locust” is an amazing album and I've never seen Machine Head headline a show. I caught them opening when they were touring with Metallica back in 2009 and they impressed me enough to get me to buy a shirt. Naturally, I was upset to see that they weren’t headlining for another two years and I wasn’t going to pass up this great opportunity.
When I got to the House of Blues, Darkest Hour were playing and it was of course, my fourth time seeing this band. Still, the fact that I've seen Darkest Hour four times without ever catching a headline set says that something is very, very wrong with the band's strategy. To me, they've always been the most generic metalcore band who simply rode the trend back when the Swedish death metal inspired variant of metalcore was incredibly popular. Looking back on that trend, Darkest Hour was never all that great. They were always a lesser version of Unearth who were also never able to reach the same heights since they lacked the real sense of personality that they needed to stand out amongst their peers. Darkest House didn't have the songwriting capabilities of Chimaira or Unearth, the choruses of All that Remains or Killswitch Engage, or the technical musicianship or Converge and The Dillinger Escape Plan. This just makes Darkest Hour another collection of Swedish guitar riffs mixed in with breakdowns and no real definitive sound out of their own.
It's 2012 and by now, it's just boring. If Darkest Hour wants to survive through the next decade without becoming another footnote, there'll need to be some changes to the sound to make themselves really stand out. Darkest Hour need think about how many death metal and nu-metal bands of the 90s aren't remembered or talked about anymore today. Hopefully, they'll do something epic in the future to regain their name, but for now, Darkest Hour isn't doing anything exiting of different.
Next in the lineup was Suicide Silence. I'll admit that I've never caught onto nu-deathcore as a genre which is why I've never been able to truly get into Emmure and Suicide Silence. The fact that their merchandise had things like “Fuck Everything” written on it really showed that angsty teenagers are the target audience for these kinds of bands. Quite honestly, I'm no longer one of these angsty fourteen-year-olds, which makes me significantly older than the band's fan base. Although Suicide Silence managed to get booed off stage back when I saw them with Carcass back in 2009, I'd still give them a chance since I'll admit there have been bands who have managed to redeem themselves since incidents like this.
Suicide Silence didn’t get as extreme of a reaction as they previously did with Carcass this time around. This made me realize from all the 'jumpdafuckup' antics that this band has, it also has yet another target fanbase - the people nostalgic for nu-metal. Ultimately, if twenty and thirty somethings want a legitimate outlet to reminisce about all the Limp Bizkit and Coal Chamber songs that they rocked out to in their youth, then at least they have one in Suicide Science. At the end of the day, this band is just a trend that's on it's way out and is not improving enough to survive. Does anyone remember Taproot? That's going to be Suicide Silence in three years. Taproot, when remembered, was the band who mixed a new trend with an old one and are now fading into oblivion.
And of course, there's still one issue that I have above all else with Suicide Silence - Mitch Lucker's voice. I'm usually a fan of screamers who are more on the shrill side with their vocals but Lucher's pitch is just grating on the ears. His high range is somewhat tolerable but his low range is just annoying. No amount of 1999-era riffs will change a simple fact that Lucker needs to really improve his vocal technique. I know all about how to do harsh vocals and Lucker just does them the wrong way by trying much too hard to falsely put emotion into them. The guy's in danger of burning out his voice and isn't into something new as much as he's about to need surgery. While I'll admit that Whitechapel have managed to improve dramatically with their latest album, Suicide Silence is if anything. regressing by increasing the nu-metal influences more as time goes on and riding a dead trend more than a decade too late. As much as I hate ripping on bands without any constructive criticism, I can't endorse Suicide Silence since there's simply too much wrong with the music to make that band redeemable.
Of course, Machine Head, the headliner, was on next. Despite how I didn't enjoy the openers, I still got a kick out of Machine Head. They had a solid performance but could have been better since Adam Duce was off key when he was attempting Rob's clean parts. For all the hate that DAT machines get, they do have a use for when nobody else in the band is able to sing and a band decides to record multi-track vocals. Thankfully on songs that didn't require Adam to sing, Machine Head slayed. For their first tour after releasing "Unto the Locust," most of the new album was played and the new material was actually pretty good to hear live. Flynn and co. haven't really mastered the new material from the album yet and hopefully there'll be a chance to see them again without them supporting or doing a shortened festival set. That said, Machine Head managed to absolutely nail their older material and even managed to make songs from “The Burning Red” and “Supercharger” sound good. I knew that this tour would be a test drive for “Unto the Locust” so I knew what I as getting into and hopefully there'll not only be more older material on their next set but they'll also have improved their new songs.
So even though this wasn't the best show I've ever been to, it was good to be able to get into a pit again since I wasn’t carrying around a tape recorder with me. Opening bands are hit-or-miss and 2012 is still young and I'm expecting to see plenty of amazing shows during the rest of the year including With Lock Up, In Flames, Hate Eternal and Black Dahlia all within the next few months. It's safe to say that 2012 may very well be the best year for concerts in my, and your, entire life.
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