Normally, one would be wise to avoid a plague of locusts. Prophets even warn about locusts in The Bible. However, in the Summer of 2011, metal fans and headbangers are going to happily succumb to a "Locust" in the form of a brand new track from Bay Area metal icons Machine Head.
The band, which released the back-to-back, modern classics, 2004's Through the Ashes of Empires and 2007's The Blackening, are aiming to unleash their third masterwork in a row on September 27th via longtime label Roadrunner Records. The as-yet untitled new album is being recorded at JingleTown Studios in Oakland, with frontman Robb Flynn producing, and it is sure to level anything and everything that happens upon its path.
Machine Head will prepare for the release of their new album by appearing on the main stage of the Rock Star Energy Drink Mayhem Festival for key dates, while headlining the Extreme Stage for others, this summer, which kicks off this July. This is the band's second tour of duty on Mayhem, as they appeared on the festival during its inaugural run in 2008.
An advance mix of "Locust" will be on sale at iTunes on June 14th and will be included on an iTunes Mayhem digital sampler. Download cards for the digital sampler will be distributed at every date of the REDMF so fans can redeem the song after being summarily kicked in the face by Machine Head's always devastating live show.
"We've been working on the record for a few weeks now, and when the opportunity to be a part of the free Mayhem sampler came up, we did not want to pass up the chance," said Machine Head vocalist/guitarist Robb Flynn. "We're so pumped for our fans to hear the new music that we're so proud of."
Flynn went a little deeper about the meaning of the song, saying, "'Locust' is a metaphor. Locusts fly in a swarm, but they can't control which direction they fly; they float on the wind, they land, cause massive destruction, and then float away on the wind to leave you in the aftermath. The song is a metaphor for a type of person that sometimes comes into your life and has a similar effect."
Musically, the song is the essence of what Machine Head have been doing for nearly two decades. "It feels like the culmination of what we've been doing for the last 17 years: power grooves, patented Machine Head harmonics, crushing guitars and dark melodies, but taken to a new level," Flynn said. "It's a natural progression from The Blackening, but different than anything on that record. In the past, when we debuted a new song, it was usually the fastest, thrashiest tune. This time we wanted to go with something just straight-up heavy."
The song is eight minutes in length, which is not unfamiliar territory for the band. Flynn even joked, "We still can't seem to write a damn song under six minutes. But Machine Head aren't writing music for the radio or MTV. This is for us. This is for the metalhead who lets music take him on a journey. This is for the metalhead for whom music is the only thing that matters, to whom music is a savior. The music fan who's going to study every detail of the artwork, go online and find the lyrics and memorize every word, and let it take them away from their fucked up life for a while. It's for the music freak, who maybe just wants to get hammered, air-guitar and sing at the top of his lungs, and act like an friggin' idiot while starting a moshpit in their living room with reckless abandon. Because that's who wrote this song, and that is the only people we care about connecting with."
Flynn finished, "We know you'll be as excited about it as we are, so Head Cases, on June 14th, check out 'Locust.'"
Machine Head rode a wave of incredible success in the '00s, one that is certain to carry them through this new decade. They were nominated for a Grammy for Best Metal Performance - their first - for "Aesthetics of Hate" from The Blackening and were invited to tour with Metallica in the US and Europe and also joined Slipknot, Slayer and Megadeth on tour dates. They have also headlined some of the biggest festivals in Europe, performing as a part of Wacken (Germany) and Download (England.)
"Locust" is a true metal anthem from these metal torchbearers, and it's erected upon the band's signature, crunchy guitar tone, pummeling riffage, a thunderstorm of percussion and Flynn's militaristic barks. "Locust" is one of those cathartic, "gets the red out" songs that will incite moshpits across the globe and cause the listener to be purged of all their anger (and exhausted from rocking the hell out) once the last note fades out.
Prepare to suffer unto the "Locust" on June 14th and beyond.
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Please check back later for any upcoming tour dates.