Metal and rap were born from anger. The two genres grew up in the same neighbourhood: the deep, crunchy guitar assaults of metal faced any and every opponent while the rhythmic, verbal attacks of rap music most frequently focussed on topics of inequality and injustice. Both born of aggressive emotion, their now-united front is a natural progression. San Francisco’s Machinehead is one of the growing number of soldiers on that front.
"In our case, it’s that we have a deep knowledge of both," says Rob Flynn, guitarist and lead singer for the quartet. "We’re not just trying to do the cool thing at the moment. We really have a deep love for hip hop music and a deep love for heavy music. I think just having that knowledge is what made it work for us."
On their latest album, The Burning Red, hip hop broke into Machinehead’s sound more prevalently. The influence, however, is not a new one.
"It’s definitely a natural progression," explains Flynn. "That element, that influence has always been there since the very beginning, since the very first record. With songs like ‘A Thousand Lies’ or ‘Block,’ a lot of those patterns were inspired by hip hop. For me, the influence has always been there. I just chose to let it really come out this time around."
The influx of rap into Machinehead’s music has expanded an already diverse sound.
"I don’t really consider Machinehead as just metal. We do heavy music that has a lot of different variables in it like melodic and hip-hop stu. I guess aggressive, heavy music is something that I’ve been drawn to for a long time. It’s either got to be sad or really aggressive. I like everything from Slayer and Metallica to and Method Man to Temple of the Dog and the Cure. I’ve just got to be able to get something out of it," asserts Flynn.
With metal gaining more mainstream acceptance, Machinehead’s success has grown in tandem with the genre.
"Heavy music, especially here in America, it’s come full circle," says Flynn excitedly. "Heavy music is definitely coming back. It’s on the radio. It’s on . I love it. I personally love it… Let’s face it: the Barenaked Ladies suck. It’s that simple. Eventually [that kind of music] is just going to go away. People want something real that they can attach onto."
With year-long tour ahead of them, Flynn and Machinehead are looking forward to taking over North America. Flynn guarantees a rowdy show in the MacEwan Hall Ballroom.
"A Machinehead show is going to be totally o the hook," gloats Flynn. "You can expect blood, guts, tits, and fire."