Thursday, May 26, 2005

squeeze the trigger

Another day is over. You begin your long journey home. A few stops to fill your day. So you can tell yourself that work was not al that you did. Feel a little better. For a while. You meet your friends. The same six people you know. The six people you can stand to be with. Not with all of them at the same time though. You exchange pleasantries. You make conversation wondering all along if you can afford to get cable… afford to hire an air conditioner for the summer… the pretty little receptionist at work at her pert little behind… the idiot at work you feel like bludgeoning with a baseball bat… your friends talk at you and you pretend to listen and nod your head. You head on home after a couple of mugs of beer… you wanted whiskey but you settled for beer. You’ve forgotten to eat dinner but you can’t be bothered anymore. You head on home. You get into your 2 room apartment. The window was left open and the mosquitoes have taken over your living room. You curse and swat ineffectually. You open the refrigerator. Cold water goes down your throat and you feel better. You reach in your little haversack. You bought something today. The cold hard feel of steel is comfortable in your hand. Not too heavy but still a man’s gun the seller said and that is what this feels like. You heft it. You sit on the chair with the weak legs. You contemplate the gun. Your life has nothing left to contemplate over. You can hear a crow on your windowsill. Maybe you should try and listen to it. Maybe the crow will make sense. Nothing else seems to. You point the gun at your right ear. You change your mind. You stick it in your mouth instead. You remember what the seller said. Squeeze the trigger. Don’t press it. Squeeze the trigger. You remember how easy it was to get the gun. You spent everything you had on it, but it was easy in the end. You squeeze the trigger. Slowly. You know that you might change your mind any second. You even hope that you do. You debate the concept of free will in a brief moment in your head. You squeeze the trigger… the sweat from your forehead runs \down to your eyes. Maybe you should have a last cigarette. Maybe you should just end it here. Maybe you should wipe the sweat off your forehead. Maybe you should just pull the trigger. Maybe you don’t want to… the weak leg gives way… you stumble… you press the trigger. A single shot. A bullet in your head… you fall back on the floor and the chair hits the ground a split second later. A bullet in the head. Your brains on the wall.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

can i touch it too ?

There’s a man sitting on the floor. The skin on his face peeled off. Raw pink skin slowly replacing it. Across his left cheek, a raw pink combination of new skin and no skin. He fingers it slowly. Caressing it. It probably burns to touch. It probably hurts like crazy. He sits. Fingering what was once a whole cheek of skin. Everyone stares. The passersby are curious. One question in the collective mind.

"Can I touch it too?”

Left Unfinished

Machine Head - Through The Ashes Of Empires

In 1994 a thrash metal band from the San Francisco Bay Area released an album called Burn My Eyes. Machine Head, the band in question with their debut injected life into a genre that was starting to fade. Burn My Eyes is a seminal modern heavy metal album. Hugely influential, Burn my Eyes made Machine Head a name that was on every metal heads lips for a while. After their debut though, the band seemed to falter. Their sophomore effort “The More Things Change” wasn’t a bad album but was a let down in comparison. The Burning Red for me was a little better but the nu-metal riffing and the raps of Robb Flynn meant Machine Head just kind of got boring. I never bothered with Supercharger, their 4th album, and had pretty much given up on the band still occasionally spinning Burn My Eyes and wondering if they would ever release anything with that much power and aggression again.

That was till I saw the video for Imperium, the album opener on the latest Machine Head. This song just fucking destroys everything. Easily the best metal song I’ve heard in a while. It seemed like Machine Head might still have something to offer. On first listen Machine Head’s 5th album in 9 years “Through The Ashes Of Empires” is a pretty solid comeback. One point to note is the entry of Phil Demmel. Robb Flynn’s guitar partner from Vio-lence has joined Machine Head on lead guitars. The riffs are a mix of old school thrash, the NYHC sound and the modern nu-metal riffing. Flynn is shouting again with the same intensity he had on Burn My Eyes. Dave McClain on the drums is a fucking monster. Just an awesome performance from him while Adam Duce just quietly does his bit on the bass. Never in your face but providing some great backing.

So is “Through The Ashes Of Empires” a brilliant comeback that will have everyone shouting out Machine Head’s name again ? Will they become poster boys once more ? Doubtful. The album is good. With more listens it’ll become better. Still, the whole whiny nu-metal aspect of the last two albums have not disappeared. Robb Flynn has given up on the rapping but the emo side of him that came up on Burning Red is still not fully gone and influences from the first Korn album are still present. The riffs have by and large gone right back to the old school Bay Area sound and I’m repeating myself but Dave McClain is playing his heart out on this album and so Robb’s occasional whining can be ignored. Except on the song “Elegy” where a powerful start is ruined completely by Robb’s whining. Still, the rest of the album is pretty good. “Vim” is a scorching thrash metal song towards the end of the album while “All Falls Down” reminds me of “Sliver” from “The Burning Red” and while it is shamelessly modern and nu-metal in approach its still a pretty good song. It seems quite apparent that Machine Head have been listening to some European metal as well. The whole Swedish sound makes its presence felt on this album and the band has become a lot more interesting with this addition. The real surprise for me on this album is Adam Duce. His bass playing is just rock solid on this album and he seems to be getting better and better. With McClain, Duce forms one hell of a rhythm section.

Based on the evidence of “Through The Ashes Of Empires” Machine Head are from finished. This is no “Burn My Eyes” but it is way better than anything the band have done since. The real interest now will be in what they do to follow this album. With Demmel in the band and Dave McClain going from strength to strength the next Machine Head album might well be something truly special.