Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

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Machine Head
Through the Ashes of Europe Tour
December 9, 2003
Copenhagen, Denmark

By: Anders Sandvall

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Rob and the other Machine Head guys have been on tour and played all throughout Europe. Yesterday they did their first show on Scandinavian ground before heading out to the other Scandinavian cities. After the Scandinavian shows, there are only five shows left to do in Europe and then the tour ends on December 19th 2003.

When I met them earlier during the day they looked pretty tired, except for the new guitarist Phil who didn’t make the interview at all.

Machine Head went on as scheduled and delivered a powerful and aggressive outburst that lasted for about 90 minutes. The crowd in Pumpehuset tagged along instantly and it was nearly sold out. Machine Head are currently supporting their new album, “Through the Ashes of Empires,” which was released about a month ago in Europe. In my opinion, they are headed back to their roots with this album. The band started out with “Imperium” from the new record, and for once they played a lot of new songs from their new album. Of course, it was a blend of both older and newer songs but the new material took the biggest place. Some of the songs were, “Left Unfinished”, “In the Presence of my Enemies” and older stuff like “The Burning Red,” “The Blood, the Sweat, the Tears,” and “Ten Ton Hammer.” All of the songs were performed in very vital and aggressive versions, just like they sounded in the beginning of the bands career. The new member, Phil, did a great job on the guitar, both solo and rhythm, compared to their older guitarist who, in my opinion, didn’t fit in the band at all.

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Rob worked really hard to get the crowd going. Adam moved a lot over the small stage, and Dave behind the drums was as stable as always. They’ve had a lot of equipment on the very small stage so they didn't have much space to move about.

The band line up today is: 
Rob Flynn - lead vocals, guitar
Adam Duce - bass, background vocals
Dave McClain - drums
Phil Demmel - lead guitar

Rob has an amazing voice with a very broad vocal range. He worked really hard on stage but he didn’t talk so much between the songs. Instead, they let the music do the talking. Of course Rob thanked all the people who supported the band through the years and coming to their shows. He said that he thought it was great fun to be back in Denmark and Pumpehuset where they played before two or three times. And as usual, he invited the crowd to sing a long in, “The Blood…” and the old classic, “Davidian.”

 

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The whole band seemed to be glad to be back in Scandinavia and there were no signs of any exhaustion at all. The whole European tour started off in Dublin, Ireland on October 31st, which means they have been out for a long time. They also played a song by Metallica from their era of greatness from the album, “Ride the Lightning.” The song, “Creeping Death” wasn’t on the set list, and they did a great version of it.

The expectations from the crowd were huge and the band didn’t disappoint their fans at all. There was a lot of spontaneous sing along's throughout the crowd and when the band started off the show, there was a mosh pit in front of the stage. It looked like Rob liked what he saw and he encouraged the crowd to keep it up. The local security in Pumpehuset wasn’t so great; there easily could have been an accident in front of the stage. All of the nu-metal (mallcore) influences seemed to have totally disappeared when they played last night. Machine Head delivered angry, aggressive metal.

 

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Machine Head is back - with a vengeance - both live and on album. It’s only to hope for that they will come back to Europe next year to give us more of what they delivered last night. The lack of photos of the show depends on the high photo-restriction they had at Pumpehuset, and flash photography was not allowed on the first three songs either!

Thanks to Roadrunner Records and Jesper at Bonnier Amigo Sweden for the help at the show, and also thanks to the two Roadrunner representatives in Denmark for the help.

No thanks to the local security at Pumpehuset, because of the unkind and brutal treatment we received.

 

Set list
Imperium
Take My Scars
The Blood, the Sweat, the Tears
None But My Own
Left Unfinished
Ten Ton Hammer
Trephination
The Burning Red
In the Presence of my Enemies
Blood for Blood


Encores
Descend the Shadows of Night
Davidian
Creeping Death
Block