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Gonorrhea also burns, but I'd rather listen to that - 20%

autothrall, July 2nd, 2020
Written based on this version: 1999, CD, Roadrunner Records

I don't know what could possibly possess a band to spend years listening to and touring on an album like The More Things Change and then come to decision that they need to do this again...but that seems to be the motivation behind Machine Head's third full-length The Burning Red. If there's one difference here it's that the guys are clearly trying to sound a lot more like Korn than they already did, so you can bet the chug-laden hip hop influences are being cranked up to the extent that even Diabolus in Musica might be embarrassed to be found in its company. Full disclosure, as I've said before, I don't actually have a problem with the idea itself of mixing rap music with heavy riffing, it's just so rarely that I've heard it done well. If I do, it'll have my respect. Most of the nu metal bands who flirt with the idea take more of a rhythmic influence from that hybrid, with the bouncy beats, lyrical attitude, bass lines and guitar tricks that are attempting to emulate record scratching or other stylistic translations.

Korn had already worn us out on that with their first 2-3 albums and Machine Head doesn't seem to accomplish much more than that several years later. So if you're truly enamored with Life is Peachy or Roots, get on with your bad self, but I think The Burning Red is notably worse than either of them. Robb does try his hand at rapping in the actual lyrical delivery, as in "Desire to Fire", and that comes off just as goofy as you'd imagine, you can just picture in your mind the hand movements he'd be making as he was bouncing along in the studio. I'm not saying he's the worst at it that I've ever heard, but once it surges into that lame chorus groove which sounds as if it's just been replicated off the last album, it just becomes too unintentionally hilarious. Add to that the monotonous crooning he adds to try and keep it all in the radio realm during the age of Creed and Alice in Chains, and we're in for one dumb fuck of an album. But it doesn't stop there, because that's basically the formula for almost the ENTIRE experience...dull churning nu metal guitars, rapped out pissed off lyrics, funkier or dissonant guitar lines and almost no ability whatsoever to turn in an interesting chorus. I mean come on, even Linkin fucking Park can deliver on the chorus, the best Robb Flynn and the bros here can accomplish is to sound like Limp Bizkit's steroid-addled cousin...or like a Jonathan Davis with far less personality and equally dumb lyrics.

When this formula IS abandoned, it's to go even further into post-grunge woozy commercial 90s heavy rock territory with the 'emotional' parts like the verses in "Silver", which just sound like some drunk guys trying to get their Nirvana, Pearl Jam or Silverchair on. The lyrics once again come off like some distraught middle schooler who really wants you to know all the pain and castigation he's been through BUT HE IS STRONG AND DON'T FUCK WITH long as it sounds personal, has no capacity to engage anyone with genuine intellectual depth, and rhymes, let's pay ball. They read like the lyrics Fred Durst would have come up with if he was doing an audition for Hatebreed or Madball before they jettisoned him from the rehearsal space moments later. You could literally punch Durst in over Flynn on "Exhale the Vile" and not know the difference. Give me any lyrics about Satan, Vikings, motorcycles or B-movie bloodbaths any day over this nonsense! The cover art sucks. The cover SONG sucks..."Message in a Bottle", how original...Excel did a great version of that a whole decade before this lazy and laughable execution. Maybe when you were in Vio-lence and actually had an ounce of talent, you should have paid more attention to the other thrash bands from your State?


Not even bad, damn good once you push aside the bad parts - 80%

deathmetal69_, September 7th, 2019

This is definitely something weird for Machine Head to put out at the point in time the band was at. They started out as pure groove metal on their debut Burn My Eyes, then introduced some other elements with their second album The More Things Change... , but this album was very unexpected for everybody. They went nu metal out of nowhere. A huge majority of Machine Head fans and other people generally hate this record because again, they changed genres so quickly and unexpectedly.

I can definitely understand why people would hate this and all that. It's lackluster nu metal coming from a groove band that this album spawned randomly. I get it. If I were to sum this up for those of you who don't understand, think of Sepultura. Think about Beneath the Remains, then think of Roots, that's pretty much it. But people seriously have to stop saying "NU METAL BAD THIS ALBUM SUCKS" etc, all that shit is purley just idiotic and stubborn. The Burning Red is definitely a step down that panders to the mainstream, but the songs are actually pretty good.

I wouldn't say Machine Head are great with pure nu metal, but the material offered here is pretty solid. Mainly the tracks From This Day and Desire to Fire. From This Day is easily a nu metal song. Just everything, the guitars, the drum playing, and the rap-ish vocals that back it all up. Also this song generally feels like a Korn song, they mix nu metal mainstream-ness with a little bit of heaviness as well. I don't know how to further explain it but From This Day is a very good song. Desire to Fire is the first track off this album and it just starts amazing. It has an intro that builds up very good and the riff is just outstanding. This is seriously one of the greatest riffs the band has ever written, this is stuck in my head all the time. Extremely catchy song for sure. These two songs in particular are the best this album offers compared to other songs.

The songwriting is okay for nu metal, could've been better for sure, but this isn't all that bad. All of the songs have something interesting and different about thierselves and they all have catchy and memorable parts too. Every track has a little something.

All the songs on this album are catchy (for the most part) and has good riffs. The inventive drumming creates an epic bouncy groove with the nu-styled riffs. Every track here is somewhat memorable; and again, catchy. Once you get more familiar with this album a lot of the tracks will be stuck in your head. Best part of this entire album is the inventive drumming that goes along with the presented riff. Greatness!

The bad parts about this album is that some aspects take the whole nu metal thing a tad too far. For example the 2nd song opens up kinda heavy, then has a few sections where the guitar stops playing and it's just the bass and drums playing together making a dancy beat with Robb rapping over it. These parts should be scrapped. I understand these parts is what makes nu metal "nu", but these specific areas of the songs that some songs have makes the song less great. Also, the intro track and the last track. This album doesn't need an intro, Enter the Phoenix is worthless and unnecessary. Desire to Fire already opens up amazingly and has an awesome buildup, so there's no need for Enter the Phoenix to be there at all. The title track (at the end of the album) is also just seriously unnecessary and boring as can be. I know its supposed to be inventive/an ending or whatever, the song generally isn't terrible; it's just so boring and not needed. All the songs on here have energy and are catchy, moving, etc. To have it end with a lame interlude-type track is a bad idea. Why? Beats me.

The Burning Red is generally and genuinely a good album. People need to stop giving it so much crap simply because it's nu metal, there's always something good in something that's not good. All the Machine Head hate in general just needs to stop, it's incredibly annoying and very stubborn. Obviously there's been a HUGE change in comparison to their two previous albums, but everything deserves a chance no matter how bad it is or how bad it may seem. Listen to the damn music and don't just play one song/skim the album and then proceed to call it "crap".

Once you get used to the songs on here you'll start to enjoy it alot and remember them. Some tracks on here simply are nostalgic for me and make me feel great on the inside, I swear some of the stuff on here is pretty magical.

So yeah, this is a Machine Head album that took an unexpected twist and it's pretty weird and whatever, but I'm telling you, if you take the time to listen to every single track and evaluate and closely listen to this entire album, it will grow on you, at some point it will. You'll realize that this album; despite it being mainstream-focused, isn't bad. It's alright. Its good. It's awesome. You just have to make yourself become more familiar with it. Instead of shitting on Machine Head and this album because it's nu metal and cringe, how about you just take some time to actually listen to it? It's not that hard.

New Sound, New Image - 80%

flippyinvader, January 20th, 2018
Written based on this version: 1999, CD, Roadrunner Records

Seems as if the pieces were in place for this album to be hated; a band stamped in the rise of the groove metal scene, a "controversial" genre reaching it's mainstream exposure in 1999 and signs of Machine Head starting to drift towards the sound on their last album "The More Things Change...". So is this album worth the controversy? honestly.

Production wise this album still has the heavy distortion but this time with an extra "OOMPH!" courtesy of legendary Ross Robinson; "The Godfather of nu metal". His production style adds more emphasis on the down-end of a beat, which in return adds more punch to Dave McClain's kick drum, and it really makes this album extra headbang-worthy.

Then there's Robb Flynn, as metal vocalists go he's average but still impressive as he shreds his throat across the album's twelve tracks, but his clean vocals could use some work. They've definitely gotten better with future albums but here unfortunately with his mid to high range tone, can sound quite whiny, as "Five" and The Police cover "Message in a Bottle" prove to be, and can be quite a jog to get through.

Now the album hasn't completely succumbed to the "jumpdafuckup self-hatred" lyrics found in some nu-metal; tracks like "Devil With the King's Card", about the titular man himself convincing out protagonist to join the dark side and braggadocious tracks like "The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears" and "Desire to Fire". But definitely a highlight on the album is the song "Five", which is this album's "Daddy" (referencing the infamous Korn track") right down to the breaking down and sobbing at the end of the track; as this is about Robb when he was molested at the titular age, quite reasonable to see why he doesn't perform this live, and don't be surprised if you're left feeling uneasy after this listen.

Overall this album shows how big Machine Head's range can be, fully submerging themselves in the nu-metal sound they pull off surprisingly well while having only merely dipped their toes in it. This album didn't kill their career as many elitist metalheads just weren't ready for a change, plus seeing how it is their best selling should be a sign how much the public loved this nu-metal sound. Give it a listen if you ever come across it.

The Burning Turd. - 0%

Napalm_Satan, December 8th, 2015
Written based on this version: 1999, CD, Roadrunner Records

Haha... this is a joke right? Please tell me it is. Else, I have no fucking idea how any level of effort can go into something that fails so fucking hard. It manages to be boring, annoying and unintentionally comical all at once, through its hilariously poor attempts at eclecticism, atmosphere, and aggression. It sounds so utterly terrible and dated that it puts everything else from the decade to shame. Fuck, the '90s sucked for music!

Yeah, yeah, that statement is nothing new. And yes, bashing Machine Head's horribly misguided attempts at pandering to the mainstream is nothing new either. However people, history is if nothing else, a lesson. And once in a while, we need refresher courses. We need to be reminded of why the '90s sucked, what made it such a godawful time for any metal band, and what our beloved genre was usurped by. In addition, I felt like bashing one of the consistently terrible mainstream metal bands, and my main gripes lay with this album and its successor. Discussion of this album and ones like it in the present day should be solely to tear it to pieces. So, without anymore rambling bullshit, I present to you all: The Burning Red.

Ugh... where the fuck do I begin? How about those FUCKING VOCALS. Robb Flynn is such a shit vocalist, and the various vocal styles he uses here prove why. This album is comprised mostly of an emaciated, toothless shout, akin to Phil Anselmo circa Far Beyond Driven, without any of the edge or aggression of the comparatively amazing Pantera vocalist. Combined with the shitty grunge cleans that call upon a terrible version of John Bush on Stomp 442, the hilariously bad and corny wigger rapping à la Fred Durst, and the really, really shitty tuneless whining that calls upon Jonathan Davis, and you have what amounts to FUCKING EAR-RAPE. This is honestly one of the most consistently terrible vocal performances I have ever heard on a professional album, and that includes a variety of screamo abortions that pretend to be aggressive and soulful. It really doesn't help that this motherfucker has had his 'talents' pushed so goddamn high in the mix that there is no escaping his whiny, irritating and tryhard performance.

Another issue with pushing up a shitty vocal performance is that the instruments beneath them are almost completely drowned out. Actually, scratch that, the backing band for Robb Flynn suck balls. They do pretty much nothing of note, with the guitars managing nothing but a sort of indiscernible drone that apparently was made using guitars (of the bastardised 7-string variety). There are ZERO FUCKING RIFFS on this album. NONE. Nothing pleasantly dated like a chord strum, pretty much no groove riffing, no acoustics, just CHUG CHUG CHUG like 2 dogs having at each other. It is just a muddy, stagnant, heavy but powerless and shitty performance all round. The same goes for the drums and bass, all these fuckers does is keep time and follow the guitars respectively (no funky bass breaks from the latter either, for shame!), allowing their 'efforts' to be mixed into that background mess that apparently are the 'instruments'.

Oh, and there are no solos, because one of nu 'metal's most astonishing(ly terrible) core tenets is a seeming revulsion to a solo. Is that because it isn't good for radio play, perhaps? Or is it because none of the hacks that ran these bullshit anti-metal collectives could actually play something that wasn't in time to the fucking chugs of the song? Either way, the only attempt at melody is the piss poor use of screeching from the guitars and the shitty... keyboards? And OF FUCKING COURSE, they are deliberately out of tune and sound like shit, just like everything else on this album, and coupled to Flynn's utterly revolting quiet voice, just makes me want to break my speakers out of sheer agony.

I always ask myself this question as the quiet, tuneless bullshit at the end of 'Desire to Fire' starts - WHY CAN'T FLYNN WRITE A FUCKING SONG?!. Well, not a good one, anyway. Needless to say, much like most things of a stop-start nature, the songwriting and structuring is absolutely fucking terrible. These songs literally go nowhere. They have no real structural intelligence (verse-chorus all the way), with NO FUCKING SOLOS (have I mentioned that yet?), no change-ups in terms of 'riffs' or pace, and an on-off sense of dynamics. The songs are either chugging away, being retarded and dragging their knuckles, or they are all wussy and limp. What both of those have in common is that both states sound terrible, and both fail at what they do. Slow parts aren't atmospheric or sad, and heavy parts sound emaciated and tryhard. The songs don't flow either, with the stop-start 'riffs' having overlong gaps between them, creating a sense of disjointed, rhythmically retarded songs, and the quiet sections coming out of nowhere and raping the listener's ear. Seriously, there is zero build up or cool down between the two dynamic states this album is perpetually locked in, and it makes for one incoherent listen.

Fuck this album. I would like to emphasise this point, if you take nothing else from this review: FUCK THIS ALBUM. This is one of the worst things related to metal that has ever been released! It is utterly terrible on all levels. It is a complete pissing away of talent, it is absolutely fucking terrible on a sonic level, the musical concept behind it (rapping, grunge, hardcore and groove metal all in one) is an ungodly aberration, and the artistic principle of hopping on a trend as blatantly shite as nu 'metal' is beyond despicable. This, my friends, is a towering, crumbling, ghastly and overlong ruin, a decaying reminder of why the '90s sucked for metal, why artistic principle is important, and why Machine Head SUCK BALLS.

I can't stress this enough: FUCK. THIS. ALBUM!

Kinda alright nu metal - 53%

gasmask_colostomy, July 11th, 2015

When reviewing an album that you know is bad or that most people hate, you tend to be influenced one way or the other by its uncelebrated status. Some reviewers will give it a beating just because they know they can, even if they actually don’t mind it, while others will stand in its defence even at the cost of reason. Contrariness is part of human nature. I’ve come to realise that I have slightly that problem when I face a Machine Head album, since I don’t detest the band in the least, but I’m forced not to like them too much by the comments of others. My review of ‘The Burning Red’ doesn’t really come down to whether the album is of musical merit, because I gave ‘Supercharger’ an awful score and have since realised that I enjoy it more than this one, which is plain in many places and does appear to be an attempt at writing commercial metal.

That said, the formula that dictates how ‘The Burning Red’ progresses isn’t bad in itself, and it seems that the reviewers on the Metal Archives have more of an issue with the nu metal genre and commercial leanings in general, rather than specifically on this release. The songs hold together much better than the fragmented ‘Supercharger’ and are even more focused than the somewhat experimental ‘The More Things Change’, though I find few of them exciting or unpredictable. To be honest, this isn’t a typical nu metal album, with too much melody, speed, and aggression to fit the genre, despite the small amount of rapping (it’s annoying, and seems too deliberate to be legitimate) and the low and sludgy guitar tone. In fact, it sounds rather like one might expect the solution to the Machine Head + Ross Robinson equation would sound, with a simplification of the band’s already simplified groove thrash formula, the absence of solos, and quasi-atmospheric guitar parts.

Around half the songs here transform Machine Head’s previous sound into a new arena, while the other half actually break new ground for the band, with more guitar effects, simpler rhythms, and the same funk and rap influences that had entered the metal consciousness in 1999. Probably the most obvious of those nu metal songs are ‘Desire to Fire’ and ‘From this Day’, the latter of which I think has one of the best choruses on the album and a certain ballsy swagger to it, even if Robb Flynn’s rapping could use some work. Then there are songs like ‘The Blood, the Sweat, the Tears’, that might have fitted onto ‘The More Things Change’ if the production was changed and the guitars brought back. What definitely happens on this album, though, is that the energy remains high for the majority of the experience and Flynn actually gives his strongest vocal performance on any Machine Head album, which is weird, since he isn’t singing lyrics anywhere near as interesting as he did before or after.

The problems come when one starts to examine the musicianship on this album, which doesn’t amount to a great deal. Nu metal was always a simpler kind of music than most other types of metal (why doesn’t drone doom get this shit?), but the riffs on ‘The Burning Red’ don’t do a lot for me, having neither enough crunch or bounce to satisfy the 14 year old Korn fan still inside me, and nothing like the complexity of their other material. ‘I Defy’ maybe gets the nod for riff of the album, because it has more nuance than some of the others, yet it is also the angriest and one of the fastest numbers, which works strongly in its favour. Adam Duce does more work on this album than most of Machine Head’s others, since the guitars are not always the focal point: his work is gravelly and moody, satisfying more than one might expect, while Dave McClain is way more profficient than David Silveria or Abe Cunningham (from Korn and Deftones respectively).

As such, my feelings about ‘The Burning Red’ are really rather mixed. I don’t have anything very bad to say about the album, except that it isn’t consistently interesting and the band aren’t playing to their full potential, but this isn’t the pile of steaming faeces that many would have you believe. ‘Supercharger’ represented a further dip in quality, though a slight resurfacing of the band’s ability to be creative, and falls short of this from an objective standpoint. If you want to hear some aggressive nu metal done fairly well, you could choose a lot worse than this.

Really Nobody? Fine.....More like The Boring Red! - 32%

Chratheostic17, February 22nd, 2015

I'll just jump right in. This is just one of those albums that will always be written off as a mishap in the band's career, amongst the likes of Megadeth's "Risk", Metallica's "Load", Slayer's "Diabolus in Musica", Morbid Angel's "Illud Divinum Insanus", Sepultura's "Roots", for many reasons.

Any trace of originality had been exchanged for a potential shot at mainstream rock station exposure that the band would be granted with, had they converted to the nu metal way of life like they did with this album. Their unique aggressive tendency to fuse slammy/groovy riffs with all-out thrash attacks had been exchanged for instrumentals that were more commercially acceptable at the time which revolved around the same three riffs over a moderate tempo drum beat, infamously designed to make the crowd jump up and down on the spot.

The only redeemable quality from this unfortunate release (which you had to dig pretty deep for) would come from the song, "Five". The lyrics really don't do much although the whole party metal vibe had been dropped and the album became briefly moderately reminiscent of the band's early-mid nineties style. Heck, even that's a bit generous but I'll feel bad otherwise as Machine Head are actually among my favourite bands and this compilation of trendy nausea came as such a nasty shock and a waste of hard earned money. From now when I see an album's release date from a band I like, that was around the time of 1997-2002 when the likes of Limp Bizkit and Korn had their say, then I will always hesitate, maybe even refrain from buying it. This album made me aware to behave in such a manner towards releases from that particular time period.

The lyrical themes really remind of some generic rock band replicating Nickelback who are making a desperate attempt to get noticed by commercially reigning pop rock labels. These lyrical themes contain the likes of being juvenile and getting drunk, you know the kind of lyrical topics that arguably laid the foundations for future mishaps of rock music such as Nickelback to make their wretched breakthrough into the mainstream as they, among many other simpleton bands would latch onto the style.

Limp Bizkit in a different form - 8%

PorcupineOfDoom, February 1st, 2015

I was never a fan of Machine Head, and this just gives me another reason not to become one. To be honest I think that its rating at the time of writing (38%) is more than fair, and in fact seems a bit generous. This album is just a classic example of what's wrong with most nu-metal acts, and hence why the genre has slowly died off since the turn of the century.

I'm sure that there are many, many people that love a good bit of Limp Bizkit or Korn, but that's not what most metalheads expect when they're given an album by a semi-respected band. Groove metal has always bordered close to nu-metal, but there comes a point where you've got to admit that you've stepped over the line. That's what's happened here, and it isn't a pleasant surprise.

The fact that the band's main appeal seems to be awful chords that just sound painful and breakdowns that are like some kind of cold sore pretty much shows what you're in for (a bad time). Basically they both just keep on coming back and they never get any better, but since this is a nu-metal album that's the most innovative thing that they could implement here without losing interest from the few people that would still listen to this. Never mind the fact that it would be more enjoyable for everyone else, the minority are important here. You know, "Fuck mainstream shit," and all that.

There's a very Limp Bizkit-esque tone about a lot of the stuff produced on The Burning Red, and I'm sure that you'll be put off by that. I don't know who wouldn't. The long and the short of it is that the riffs either chug along or make needlessly loud screeching noises. Wherever possible, the band combine the two of them. Then mix screams and shouts that don't have any worth with shitty raps that detract more than they add and hey-presto, you've got a clone of the world's most hated band. You will, however, be pleased to know that the vocals tend to sound more akin to Corey Taylor of Slipknot than Fred Durst. Hooray.

I'm extremely embarrassed to admit though that the song Nothing Left kind of left a positive feeling behind. I don't know whether that's just because everything else was so bad that it seems good in comparison or if the breakdowns in the chorus would normally be appealing, but for one reason or another it seemed at least okay. I didn't get as much of a headache listening to that song as I did for the rest of the album anyway.

It would seem that the only reason Machine Head ever released an album in this style is because it was the successful genre at the time of release. And thank fuck that it isn't anymore, because then we'd have to tolerate bands like this one churning out crap that will be bought because it's the cool thing to be into. There will forever be a special place in my heart for this album as it manages to be worse than many nu-metal acts that I don't look upon in a good light (Papa Roach, Slipknot and Mushroomhead to name but a few).

Creative bankruptcy bordering on plagiarism - 5%

The_Ghoul, April 26th, 2014

I had been curious about Machine Head's "nu" phase for quite some time, in the same vein as the morbid curiosity I get from hearing about a triple homicide in the paper. I had heard that it was terrible, but what I found was not so much talentless as rotten trendwhoring. While I'm not a fan of Machine Head in any sense, regarding their best work as ranging from "ok" to "enjoyable", but this is beyond the pale. In case anybody was wondering, what the Head have done here is replace their old guitarist (y'know, the one who actually wrote riffs instead of chugging) and replaced him with a numetaller and then made an album with, I shit you not, every single nu-metal cliche' there ever was. Listening this immediately transported me back to middle school, even though I never actually heard any of this back then, but only due to how derivative the songs are.

The disc starts off with a serious case of jumpdafuckup, with chugging I could play with a dildo instead of a pick. While high on barbiturates. We then get treated to a few rhyming lines, done in a grumpy whisper that was all the rage in the late 90's, as popularized by bands like Korn. I don't believe this song has anything, though, that I'd call an actual riff, and there are maybe 3 chord patterns at best. The vocals range from rapping (which I find ironically enough to be the most tolerable vocal style Robb uses on The Burning Red) to that numetal shout that was popularized by seemingly every band from Papa Roach to Disturbed to The Deftones. By the time this album is a few songs in, we're wading breast-high in numetal cliche's. I swear, it's like Robb compiled a list of EVERY cliche' done by a numetal band circa 1999, when this was made, and compiled it into a full length album. If you liked Robb's vocals on Burn My Eyes and The More Things Change you will be disappointed because his style is completely unrecognizable, replaced by this amorphous nu metal whine. The lyrics range from douchebaggy to whiny, and the whispering and pseudo-crying really gets on my nerves every time I have to hear it.

Don't expect the instruments to be any better; McClain is clearly capable of better drumming than this, as he sticks to basic 4x4 patterns and it becomes difficult to believe he was in a respectable metal band a couple years prior. That, perhaps, personifies why I find this so morbidly fascinating, in that it's a metal band that went from respectable post-thrashers to complete nu metal drek lickety split. Another way of visualizing the change is watching the live videos around that time; bassist Adam Duce looks completely out of place, with his thrasher style completely at odds with the nu-hipster look of the rest of the band. And this also symbolizes exactly what is so wrong about The Burning Red -- it's fake. It's manufactured. It's not what Robb and co. really were as a band, and it's them trying to be a mainstream band.

Another issue I take is with the song "Five". Many people have commended Robb on his bravery in coming out about his abuse... but I'm not sure if these people can remember back to the late 90's/early 00's when numetal was all the rage, and whining about child abuse was common. Not that I don't have empathy for Robb, but it seems quite disingenuous that he waited until numetal was popular, and thus it was relatively trendy to write lyrics about child abuse, to do so. Almost smacks me of being opportunistic, it seems. Either way, the delivery and the whole trendiness of the way this song is presented reduces the impact the lyrics would have had on me, if the song was worth a damn to begin with, which it isn't.

Bottom line is that if you came of age at the time of or before numetal was popular, and thus were subjected to the relentless jumpdafuckup, then you have already heard this album. Every riff, every groove, you've heard it before, and there's nothing original at all about The Burning Red. While the next album was a bit more tolerable because they toned down the horrid Limp Bizkit influence, the Ahrue Luster period of Machine Head will live on in infamy as where they traded their original sound for a straight-faced mockery of an already shitty and creatively devoid style. 3 points for Robb's rapping, which was surprisingly decent and the least annoying part of his performance, and 2 more for Duce's involvement, which was the closest to preserving their integrity the band got to during this period. Avoid at all costs, if that's not blatantly obvious already.

Yo, Yo, Yo! It's your boy Robb Flynn! - 20%

psychoticnicholai, June 10th, 2013

Here we are, the very album that soiled Machine Head's reputation and credibility with metalheads everywhere. The Burning Red marks Machine Head's transition from a solid groove/post-thrash metal band into a full fledged nu metal band. Most of us who liked their earlier releases will definitely be put off by this embarrassment of an album. Machine Head to this day still says that The Burning Red was all about "experimentation" or "diversity" instead of selling out. Yeah right, they're becoming more "diverse" and "not selling out" by jumping on the goddamned nu metal bandwagon while it was making more money than ever!? Sorry boys, I'm not buying it.

The Burning Red has much simpler instrumentation on it and much less intelligence or maturity. The guitars are much more simplified in their approach. They consist largely of simple chugging riffs that a first year guitar student could master, lacking the thrashy intensity or grooving punch that earlier albums had. The production is also tinnier and lighter. It's much less bass-heavy and lacks much strength or heaviness. Robb's vocals also suffer as his signature bark sounds castrated, weak, and annoying. His clean vocals also got a lot whinier as he seems to almost squeal when he tries to sing in a melodic manner. His emotional intensity and machismo have mostly disappeared with whiny stupidity taking it's place. He even raps on many songs, which he is not doing well at all. His flow is stunted and his subject matter sucks. I mean, he's rapping about how great he and his band are and how they're living the high life. That's pathetic, just pathetic. While not as awful as Limp Bizkit or Trapt, this album is still unbelievably bad.

The album doesn't even start off like you think a Machine Head album would start off like. It starts off like you'd imagine your typical Limp Bizkit album. A simpleton groove starting us off with some HUHs and YEAHs followed by Korn-ish whispering gets us rolling into the album as Robb spits forth some self-ingratiating rap occasionally interlaced with some weakened growling. He even has stupid little taglines for his songs that are trying as hard as possible to be catchy or poppy, The worst offenders being Desire To Fire, The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears, and I Defy. When Robb's rapping stops, the songs usually devolve into muddy droll that consists mostly of him trying to sound emotional and melodic, or him yelling as loudly as possible over the riffs without any regard to beat or rhythm. The pseudo-ballad Silver, along with Exhale The Vile, and Devil With The King's Card are glaring examples of this. The rest of the album is pretty much a mixture of several types of crappy, typical, nu metal cliches. The only exception is the absolutely abominable cover of Message In A Bottle by The Police. The idea of making a metal cover of such a sunny, relaxed song is terrible enough, but combine that with Robb's whining and shouting, and it becomes unbearable! These songs are garbage.

If whining, yelling, and full-of-yourself rapping are you're thing, give The Burning Red a spin. As for everyone else, stay away, far away. If you like Machine Head's earlier work or prefer their post-Supercharger material, avoid this. You will be disappointed. If you don't like Machine Head, The Burning Red will only give you more reasons to hate them. This album is a bomb, a stink bomb. I can't stand it and it need never have been made. I hope I'll never have to touch this mutant abomination ever again.

Enter The Phoenix - 95%

drfell, March 12th, 2013

Even after all of the years that have passed, I still cannot believe just how woefully underrated this album is. I still rate this as one of their best, and it is certainly one of their most interesting albums to date. The production by Ross Robinson is astonishing, deep, layered, and organic, and is one of those recordings that rewards with repeated listens. There is so much detail and nuance, you can pick out new details with every listen. It is definitely metal, but it is more experimental, textured, and colourful than their other albums. There is a refreshing lack of guitar soloing with more emphasis on guitar sounds, effects, and interplay between the two excellent guitarists. The drumming is classy, polished, and understated and the bass snakes and writhes, dark and economic. There is some great use of melody and beautifully-placed guitar effects. There is a great piece within the stunning "Five" that just comes out of nowhere, soft and mournful, that adds great texture and mood to the track (at 3.06). Other highlights, of which there are many, include "Exhale The Vile", "Silver", "The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears", and "I Defy", although every track is essential and holds its own place within the whole context of the recording. The running order of the tracks is perfection and there is a superb version of "Message In A Bottle" by The Police in the mid-section that gives the album a better feel and breaks it nicely into two sections.

I really wish they had pursued this sound more, but then I suppose that's what makes this album so special. It stands alone (burning red) as such a unique and unusual album. This is an album that has been perfectly named.

It ends with the haunting, ethereal, broken distortion of "The Burning Red" that slowly morphs into something vast and floating. like watching the sun swirling into a great red cloud. Robb Flynn has a great gift for melody and there is some very cool harmony that he sings towards the end of this track. I would be very interested to hear Machine Head with more emphasis on melody as the quieter sections of their songs are very interesting. Machine Head really pushed themselves on this album, proving to be very versatile musicians.

Recorded at Indigo Ranch, The Burning Red defines Machine Head as a unique band who were well ahead of their time with a brave, bold album that really deserves closer inspection and appreciation.

A new attitude - fresh but not necessarily better - 48%

NWOAHM666, January 12th, 2012

The period in metal history between 1997 and 2000 was simultaneously one of the best and worst times for the genre. However and sadly, the best part of the era was forgotten and the worst part emphasized, which leads me to the question: is this a reflex of the nü-metal domination of the era? Yes and no. Unlike many people here, I have a rather tolerant (if skeptical) attitude towards nü-metal, but like many people here, I can't really stand when bands like Machine Head drop so much of their sound and their roots, and as a consequence I'm not particularly happy with this change of sound, especially given that it becomes possibly more commercial and lacks the rage of old (excuse the pun).

The fact I will disagree with with most reviewers is that in some way this album presents a continuation of The More Things Change... in creating a more accessible and youthful sound. It is true, the good old technical grooves that marked Machine Head in their previous output are still here to some extent. However, as The More Things Change... was already less precise than Burn My Eyes, The Burning Red is also less precise than The More Things Change.... The most notable nod to the past in this album is undoubtedly the beginning of "Desire to Fire", which is in fact an outro that the band used to open their shows in the '90s, in case you didn't know. The angsty track "Nothing Left" (featuring Joey Jordison ON VOCALS) and (probably the best song off this album) "Devil with the King's Card" (featuring another great vocal actuation by Flynn that reminds me of "Blood of the Zodiac" off their previous album) are probably the other "old school"-ish songs on this record and arguably the worthiest material from it, thanks to some good drumming interventions from Dave McClain.

However, this also has a lot of new influences that may lead an old school fan to think twice before picking this album up, most namely the use and abuse of rap influence. Yeah, RAP. Listening for a minute or so to "Desire to Fire" makes one think if the record that had been collected was actually made by the same band that made a living out of a legendary 1994 groove thrash masterpiece (even if the song's chorus may heal it). And that's before hitting the worst part. Some songs here sound not nü-metal, but post-grunge or alt-rock (!) in influence, such as the horrible track "Silver (From This Day)", which by misfortune ended up being the album's main single. Out of nothing, the same man that once yelled "Let freedom ring with a shotgun blast!" is now doing weak clean vocals as well as writing whiny lyrics: "And it makes me glad when I see the sun, and I thank my God, got a friend like you"...this sounds like some pathetic whine, not sociopolitical criticism or anger. What happened?

The worst part are arguably the guitars. They're played in the typical nü-metal style with one riff per song and no guitar solos. As a consequence, there is no need for a lead guitar (and Flynn didn't play one on this album), which brings the album's sonority down. Honestly, this is the point in the album where we can see that Logan Mader was an important member of the band.

The final verdict over The Burning Red is based on the fact that this album still sounds like Machine Head and still has good songs, even if there are tracks to be avoided here. Other than that, it's buyable if you are indeed a lot into these guys and have no problems with strong nü-metal-influenced material. If not, stay away.

The Royal Seal of Gayness (Salutatorian) - 0%

hells_unicorn, October 14th, 2008
Written based on this version: 1999, CD, Roadrunner Records

There are a few places out there where musicality and metal come to die, and unfortunately for Robb Flynn a lot of them reside in Machine Head’s back catalog. Would be innovative riff ideas are chopped apart and presented as fragmented grooves or effects drenched drones, drum beats stagnate and induce a trance state rather than command the act of head banging, and shouted vocals give way to whining like a castrated Kurt Cobain or kicking it with Fred Durst and the homeboys nu-metal style. Naturally remnants of Flynn’s past filter in and out at times on some albums, but these are the exception rather than the rule, and basically disappear completely in the later 1990s.

The nature of the band has always been to take a salutatory stance on mainstream rock/metal, although if an analogy were made to a situation such as a celebration or commencement of sorts, the salutation would come late in the event rather than towards the beginning, given Machine Head’s lateness in following trends. So when approaching their most mallcore/nu-metal oriented offering “The Burning Red”, one has to ask the question of which is actually at the bottom of the barrel, the true pioneers of an inferior style of music or the followers who pop up soon after? If one goes by the music alone, the terribleness of this album is only slightly less than that of the valedictorian (Sepultura’s “Roots) in that the experiments are more localized to the groove/grunge sector of nu-metal, resulting in something that isn’t quite as grotesque as the latter, but regardless this album is completely unlistenable if you are hungry for good metal.

A good label for this brand of septic steeped human fecal debris is vocally oriented mallcore, in the respect that Robb Flynn’s vocals basically hog all of the prominence in the mix and often completely drown out the half assed background noise guising as guitars. Now if Flynn could actually sing or write lyrics to any degree, the testicle shrinkage that accompanies hearing things like his horrid rendition of “Message In A Bottle” or the quiet sections of the half-ballad crapper “Silver” wouldn’t occur, but alas they do. Likewise, when the guy screams it just sounds like a wimpy version of Phil Anselmo meets a slightly tougher version of Jonathan Daivs, which will often lead into some really horrid Layne Staley imitations during sung sections that make Anthrax’s material with John Bush sound good by comparison. I have to admit though, when Flynn starts rapping on a couple of these songs, it gets pretty damn funny unless you’ve made the mistake in paying money to hear this album. To sum it all up, with this outfit you get 3 poor versions of 3 styles of vocalizing that had already been done to death for 3 years prior.

If you attempt to tune out the vocals to focus on the music, which is virtually impossible given how loud and terrible the vocals are, there isn’t really much to speak of on here that hasn’t really been heard on earlier albums in this style by Anthrax, Sepultura, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Rage Against The Machine, or this band’s first two albums. It’s basically like they took ideas from all of these, lined the walls of a room with white canvass, and threw them into a blender with no lid and wrote songs based on what parts of the walls the pieces flew onto. “Desire To Fire” basically kicks off with a series of redundant 2 and 3 chord grooves that don’t really fit together, resulting in something that stagnates and meanders, if you can image those two things happening in the same song. Flynn screams, then he raps, then he sings grunge style, then he screams, then raps some more, before leading into some gimpy, quiet spoken breakdown section. Hey Robb, are you trying to sing or are you making a romantic book on tape geared towards the illiterate and effeminate?

Once you get past the first full length song, the extremely formulaic nature of this album unveils and you begin to feel latent homicidal tendencies towards your stereo speakers. There may be a little bit of variation when it comes to how each song begins, such as a repetitive rock beat with a bunch of guitar noise on “The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears”, a boring tribal sounding beat fading in over the course of over a minute with guitar noise coming in halfway through it in “Exhale The Vile”, or in most other cases simply throwing out a groove riff accompanied by some guitar noise within the riff itself. But regardless, you can count on the music to find its way into a stagnated groove, you can count on that annoying as hell tremolo effect that signifies a forbidden fantasy shared between Flynn and The Edge to worm it’s way into just about every song on here, and you can expect Flynn’s voice to either whine, choke, rap, whisper, or ad lib some the occasional yeah, come on, or 1-2-3-4.

While there isn’t any one song on here that qualifies as good to any extent, there is a level of differentiation on here. There are some bad songs on here that seem to be trying to sound metal, albeit in a lame nu-metal sort of fashion. “Devil With The King’s Card” seems to be attempting to establish something akin to a “Vulgar Display Of Power” atmosphere during the first two minutes, although the riffs are so flat and uninteresting that it’s for naught and Flynn’s vocals are whiny and weak. “Exhale The Vile” also attempts Pantera worship with basically no real success, mostly due to their addiction to throwing in those lame high end effects driven guitar parts and Flynn’s emasculated yells, drama queen whispered narrations, and sleep inducing clean passages. But most everything else is unapologetically mallcore, especially the “Message In A Bottle” cover, which sucks as much decrepit, V.D. ridden cock as Limp Bizkit’s remake of “Faith”, which I sincerely apologize for bringing up as I’m sure many of you are still in shock at Durst actually making a George Michaels song sound even lamer than it originally was.

If you’ve never heard this album or any of its contents on the radio and you have fond memories of Vio-Lence, Forbidden, or even Machine Head’s first 2 albums; consider it a blessing and don’t subject yourself to this. This is a musical denial of everything that is metal, albeit one that lacks the avant-garde quirks of its Brazilian cousin “Roots”, but otherwise pays faithful homage to it like a lackey does its master. A very small minority has argued that this is Machine Head’s greatest work, and I partially agree in the respect that this album best represents the nature of this band and is a crowning achievement in Flynn’s quest to get as much distance between himself and his former thrash metal roots as possible in the name of getting with the “in crowd”. In all its learned terribleness, it has earned the right to be branded with The Royal Seal of Gayness and is second only to Sepultura’s 1996 musical abortion in its role at the salutatorian of the 90s commencement of all things mallcore.

Originally submitted to ( on October 14, 2008.

Mallcore To The Bone - 6%

GuntherTheUndying, February 25th, 2007

Few things in life can match the utter crap that is Machine Head's 1999 catastrophe "The Burning Red." Now you might think I'm being a bit carried away for such a bold statement, but coming from a devoted metalhead, I mean every word of it. The last thing I EVER wanted to hear was a nu-metal album, and that's exactly what "The Burning Red" is. Everything from the easy guitar playing, to the deep distortion, to the rapping vocals, and even the angst lyrics plague this record from start to finish.

It seems Machine Head thought it would be cool to completely disown their groove thrash sound and replace it with mainstream rock. The repugnant riffs are composed of standard nu-metal worship with little variation or variety. The simple guitar structure is repeated quite frequently as there is just one effortless riff for each song that repeats over and over until it finally ends. The drumming takes a big dump on any possible enjoyment as every track has the same simple drum pattern with minimal changes. And did I mention there aren't any guitar solos throughout the painful course of this LP? It becomes painfully obvious within seconds of listening that "The Burning Red" isn't metal, but a total mallcore sellout. If Korn and Machine Head decided to make a baby, "The Burning Red" would be the foul offspring.

Just when you think this record couldn't get any worse, you hear Robert Flynn and his rapping vocal style. The Machine Head frontman decided to hop on the trendy bandwagon by rapping over the mallcore riffs to make "The Burning Red" a sellout of the ages. All the rhyming and rapping he does sounds disgraceful, embarrassing, and even humorous at times. Flynn also makes some attempts at singing, but he just sounds like a generic grunge singer. I'm not sure if Flynn wanted to be a Fred Durst clone or some alternative rock clown when he sang on this record, but he sounds atrocious overall and his new vocal attempts should have avoided in the first place. I can't believe the same guy who sang on "Burn My Eyes" was responsible for making such an abominable vocal performance!

I've heard some terrible stuff before, but none of that can match the utter repulsiveness of this album. Machine Head have thankfully returned to their metal roots in recent times, yet this abomination is still a friendly reminder of what Robert Flynn and company wanted to become. Spend your money on something you'll actually enjoy and avoid "The Burning Red" like you would a rabid dog.

This review was written for:

Racing on Self Destruct - 62%

Number_Six, September 18th, 2006

Machine Head’s 1999 full-length, 'The Burning Red', contains a number of flaws, notably it’s inconsistent style. Is it meant to be a rapcore album, or is it merely an expansion of Machine Head’s early thrash style? Were they just trying something new, or was this a band content to jump the shark and market themselves to angst ridden pre-teens? Is it okay for a metal band to cover The Police, or does it make you a complete pansy?

Memories of the rather directionless 'The More Things Change…' are evoked on tracks such as “Silver” and “Exhale the Vile”. The sludgy riffs never really take off into the doom-laden territory they were searching for, and Robb Flynn’s growling vocals are stuck in second gear. Meanwhile, in both an interesting and disconcerting turn away from Machine Head’s style of the past, “Desire to Fire” and “From This Day” utilise pseudo-rap vocals, and it becomes all too clear why the band sought Mr. Nu-metal, Ross Robinson, to produce this album. Both extremes simply do not co-exist well in the same universe.

However, amid the chaos, there are some hidden gems that should not be overlooked. Pure chest-beating anthems such as “The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears” and “I Defy”, while not as powerful as a “Davidian”, are notable pretenders to the throne. “Nothing Left” features a slow-burning groove that meanders around innocently until the climax, when the stick of dynamite explodes and the band goes completely bonkers. The closing title track is the closest thing to a ballad on this album, and shows that Mr. Flynn can croon with the best of them.

The ‘heaviest’ track, in terms of content, is clearly “Five”. An emotional song about a five year old boy being sexually abused, the lead singer has admitted in a few interviews that the lyrics are autobiographical. Despite the nu-metal influences on this album, the singer sounds anything but ‘whiny’ on “Five” as he bellows “You molest and destroy just a five year old boy - And you made me suffer, motherfucker!” The words aren’t exactly erudite in their approach, but they come straight from the heart and it’s hard for this reviewer to find fault in that.

Overall, 'The Burning Red' is not a very good album to listen to from start to finish, but it does contain some great individual tracks that would be worth the price of an iTunes download. For newcomers, Machine Head is a band worth exploring if you like your metal with an accessible edge to it, but 'Burn My Eyes' is still arguably the best place to start your collection. And... no, you're not a pansy if you like The Police...

Spike the hair, buy 32" wide jeans, get a chain... - 70%

Funeral_Shadow, March 1st, 2005

Before you even say anything about the rating, I'll let you know one thing about why I gave it a pretty decent score. For one, despite the nu-metal possessed in this CD, this is waaaay better then anything else Machine Head released. Yup, you heard me; this is better then "Burn In My Eyes" or "The More Things Change!" Call me crazy (and I could give a rats ass if you think so,) but this is Machine Head's best CD.

For starters, let’s look at the music itself. Compare this to their pass releases and the songs structures, melodies and so on are far better here then the first two albums. In the past, the songs were alright (half alright at most) with the slow and boring riffs presented. Yeah those riffs might be heavier x12 than the ones presented in "The Burning Red" but that doesn't make a release grand. The vocals sounded pretty hoarse in the past and not well practiced whereas on this release, Rob Flynns voice sounds well laid out (yeah, even those "rapcore" moments sound good and structured well into each song.) Overall on comparison, despite the mallcore tendencies on this album, I must say this is much more enjoyable and headbangable (yes, I said headbangable) to listen to than the last two very mediocre,” yawnful” releases.

Moving onto this CD, yes it is plain flat out the sellout album for Machine Head, but if you were really thinking about it, this was coming because "The More Things Change" had no direction and vibe to it. Sure, why not jump on the bandwagon and become "hip" and "cool" like most of the bands were becoming during that time. The metal scene was deteriorating, and Machine Head decided to be like Korn, Limp Bizkit and so on with this album... but ironically, as I stated before, this release is not bad... not bad at all. Let's get one thing cleared up here (for those of you who are too "tr00," just skip this part because you have your ideologies of being strictly metal, so yeah skip this please before I get a ton of hatemail!): I feel there's a difference between truly bad nu-metal and the decent, more enjoyable nu-metal. "The Burning Red" is one of those enjoyable nu-metal albums, possessing some metallic qualities and yeah, doesn't have someone whining about his life or anything like that. No, I'm not a fan of nu-metal, but I'll be honest with you that this was one of my first "metal" CD's to buy, and up to this day I still occasionally pop this into my boom box. Its nu-metal that does have some creativity behind it and just doesn't repeat power chords or have crap-ass lyrics.

(Okay, if you skipped all that above, now you can proceed reading here.) Sure, there are such songs like "Desire To Fire" which has that cheesy rapcore feel to it, with Rob sort of laying down some rhymes in the beginning, but it isn't Limp Bizkit rapping or anything like that (and if it was, then this release wouldn't such a high rating.) If you're really looking for some per-se old school Machine Head, then the next song "Nothing Left" and "I Defy" would somehow satisfy your taste buds. They're pretty metallic; "Nothing Left" has a pretty catchy riff and beat to it and ends with intensity. "I Defy" though is all out a mosh pit song with a real punky feel to it (especially at the near end of the song, the riffs and beat begins to speed up and it will guarantee some headbangs.) One thing I know most people criticize about this CD is the single "From This Day" which has nu-metal written all over it. Ha, I hate to be honest, but that was the song which got me into the band to begin with! It's one of the best songs on the album despite the nu-metal behind it (c'mon, just because something isn't metal doesn't mean it sucks ya know?) It's really watered down, but still it has one hell of a catchy riff to it, catchy lyrics and chorus (yes, this is another rapcore song) and yeah it stays stuck in your head. Everything else on the CD isn't that bad, but the rest of the songs are more of the same.

Think about this: Do you really like Machine Head's old stuff? If you don't, then maybe you should take a risk and listen to this album because it isn't as bad as people make it to be. The reason most people are bashing this is because they can only tolerate metal music, and/or they actually did like old Machine Head, and they see the band as a sellout now. I'm neutral on this one, so I guess that's why I enjoy the CD. I agree though that the band did sell out and went all mallcore, but then again I never really liked old Machine Head and it's under the bands will if they wanna be conformists or not.

It's like I said before, just because something isn't metal doesn't mean that it sucks. Besides, it's about the music, not image (wow I really sounded like a Hot Topic kid saying that; lemme stop here hehe.)

Ear Candy: From This Day, Nothing Left, I Defy...