Burn My Eyes

Machine Head

Roadrunner, 1994


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


For a while, I fell out of the whole metal scene—not that I didn’t check out some of the new releases, especially from bands I knew and loved. It was just that I didn’t keep up with every new artist that came out, especially those who were seen as “flavor of the month” acts.

Rob Flynn and Machine Head can hardly be classified as a “flavor of the month” band, as they’ve stood the test of time now for nearly 30 years. But they do fall under the category of bands I didn’t pay particular attention to when I was younger. So, that gives me the chance to view their earlier albums with fresh ears, not knowing what to expect.

In the case of their 1994 debut effort Burn My Eyes, one can hear the seeds sown that would later spawn numerous other bands in the same genre. And while I’d have liked a little more variety in the musical offerings, what Flynn and crew do, they do well, and it proves to be an entertaining and intense listen.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

There is no denying that Machine Head—vocalist/guitarist Flynn, guitarist Logan Mader, bassist/vocalist Adam Duce and drummer Chris Kontos—have the musical power to back up the intensity of their lyrics. The way the alternate between regular rhythms and the occasional thrash-power blasts works to their advantage, helping to set them apart from other bands in the same genre at the time. Whether it was hatred for the corrupt socioeconomic system (“A Thousand Lies”), organized religion (“Death Church”), the throes of addiction (“I’m Your God Now”) or societal events that occurred around the time of recording (“Davidian,” “Real Eyes Realize Real Lies”), Flynn and crew keep the accelerator of intensity pressed to the floor throughout the 11 tracks on this disc.

It’s near the end of Burn My Eyes that one begins to appreciate what Machine Head brings to the table. “Block” is the kind of track that one wishes was heard more often on the disc. Flynn leaves little doubt that the anger he’s singing about is real and intense, while his bandmates lay down a solid musical track behind him. If anyone had any questions about whether heavy metal was dead in 1994, Machine Head lay those doubts to rest quickly.

If Burn My Eyes has any drawback, it’s that some of the songs tend to blend into each other—and while they’re more than listenable, they don’t necessarily do anything that sets them apart from each other. Knowing I have many more discs in Machine Head’s discography to discover, one would hope that, as they matured as a band, they would begin to take some chances with what they offered the listener—not only to set tracks apart from each other, but to set Machine Head apart from the rest of the genre.

Still, Burn My Eyes is a solid debut effort, leaving little doubt why it was the best-selling debut album in Roadrunner’s lineup until the arrival of Slipknot. It’s a great disc to get one’s feet wet in terms of all things Machine Head, and only promises of better things ahead for them.

Rating: B-

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