"Through the Ashes of Empires" Tour


14- 11-2003 - New Age -  RONCADE (TV)


review by Alberto "AMB" Scremin  and Nicola Cavasin





"Bulldozer feeds upon the weaker as they fall

  Bulldozer crushes all!"



I guess the bulldozer is this four-guys band that makes us headbang and jump since 1994. A sound heavier than ever, an unstoppable & powerful drum-machine called Dave McClain, the aggressive lyrics and a brand new talented guitarist made the Treviso date (the 2nd italian one of the "Through the Ashes of Empires" Tour), an amazing show, even harder than the last one i've been to in Milan for the Supercharger Tour.

There were great expectations for the new album after all the problems the band have had with their USA record company and this fifth work, out on October the 27th , fulfilled them all! Actually this show was a chance to let italian fans know the new songs as the last album was not very well distributed here in Italy; the affection of the fans is something unbelievable anyhow, after a 11-years activity, and the "New Age Club" was almost too small to hold all the crazy guys coming from several parts of Italy and Europe, making it sold-out once again.



The place inside was already boiling with tons of adrenaline when KILL II THIS jumped up the stage at about 21.30 making us warm up the engines for the MH show. Even if they’re not well known here in Italy, I think people enjoyed very much this energizing hardcore-like-newmetal band. With involving drum&bass lines, the frontman, guitarist Mark Mynett and the crazy singer Phil Bretnall (that came up complaining for the stage was too small…sorry…but you managed very well anyhow,believe me!) captured the audience making us jump all the time and sing the chorus of the wonderful "The flood". Honestly, there's nothing new under the sun but these four guys have great attitude, make genuine rock with a heavy sound, a charismatic guitarist and a multicolour style: keep an eye on them!
MACHINE HEAD              review Through the Ashes of Empires


But let's talk about something serious: we were all waiting for THEM!After a 20-30 minutes wait, the lights off and a suggestive melodic prelude in the background introduced one of the greatest bands of the last ten years. Dave McClain came in first and jumped up behind a big drumset standing out against a black curtain; then came the "mysterious thing", new guitarist Phil Demmel, Adam D.with his usual marble face and Mr.Robert Flynn, the heart and the soul of MH!

The first gentle but disquieting notes of the opener "Imperium" spread all over the room, slowly rising until "everything" began with Robb's scream : "Hear me now!". A new kind of raw energy seemed to converge in a mature rage, an evolution of the usual MH sound with melodic interludes mixing perfectly with the furious chorus that shouted out:"Fuck these chains..I will be different!". The lyrics are even stronger than "Blind my eyes" and "The more things change.." ones with a need of freedom and justice that overflows from them. The new piece, even if quite unknown for many of the fans, started the fire as noone could avoid jumping and moving with the crowd. The newest songs are all awesome but the live impact of the forthcoming three old hits ("Take my scars-The blood, the sweat, the tears-None but my own”) was terrifying: the second song, took us back a few years and you could easily hear the different sound, that was more simple and straight; the result was that every single person was singing words learned long time ago and never forgotten! But I think the third song was one of the highest moments of the show with the wonderful"The blood, the sweat, the tears", a mix of pure adrenaline and melodic harmony that took us back to a different kind of rhythm and speed: you can’t avoid loving it!

Italian fans were more for the first two albums’ songs, partly because they really couldn’t know the new album, partly because they actually wanted the oldest pieces that seemed to keep a fresh live energy through the years: with the guitars rougher than now, with the heavy rhythm of “None but my own”, the fast one of “Take my scars” and the two galloping choruses, I guess MH gave the fans what they really wanted to hear.

Robb was in a wonderful form, talking and joking with the crowd and drinking a toast every two songs saying: “SALUTE!” (that means “CHEERS” more or less). But the real matchwinner, that evening, was Phil; the new guitarist was unstoppable, moving everywhere (as far as he could on the small stage!), always smiling at and involving the fans: he’s been a great purchase!

Then came “Left Unfinished” from the last album, a great song that had to be played for its thrilling refrain that you can’t get out of your head once it’s stepped in. Just the time to get our breath back that Robert was drinking another drop introducing the next piece that was a real hammer on our heads: a “Ten ton hammer”!!!!

The sound and the mixing were clear and without imperfections (maybe Adam’s mic volume was too low so we didn’t hear him very often in the choruses!): the way MH played, so heavy but pure at the same time, with controlled rage and violent precision, remembered me of the Slayer style!

I have no explanations for the choice of the next song (“Trephination”). I think it’s a good song, with a good pace but it seems to me it doesn’t come to an end and I think the choruses remains somehow incomplete. “Supercharger ”is one of their best albums; its speed, its power, its involving rythms and melodies have been created to be played live but we’re still here longing to hear songs like “Bulldozer” , “White knuckle..” , “Blank generation” , “Deafening silence” , “Supercharger”.

“The burning red” sent us all to a sort of sacred atmosphere, a catatonic state after the “massacre”, gently rocked by the notes of this surprising song that I prefer to listen at home, within my room and with my inner thoughts rather than leaning on the sweaty back of the dirty guy standing in front of me!

Robb’s voice (that stood out clearly without impurities or indecisions for the whole concert) introduced a song that: “will be started by Mr Phil Demmel….it’s called In the presence of my enemies!!!”. This dark song shows well the new direction taken by MH and their main songwriter, Mr Flynn, in this album: it’s a composite piece, with at least four songs in it; the first one including the guitar intro and the great chorus; the second one with an aggressive but melodic interlude followed by a fast part that has been created to mosh and the fourth one with the increasing rage of the final scream: “On your grave I will stand!”. MH don’t give a damn about criticism: their songwriting has stepped into a new level of complexity and maturity….and the fans like it!

“Blood for blood” was the last piece before the break and we then realized everything was about to end while we wanted more and more….

The longing “Descend the shades of night”, introduced by the classical guitars, is one of the best MH songs but I don’t really think it’s been totally understood by the guys in the club who wanted more hard ‘n heavy pieces like the follower “Davidian”, hailed by the crowd like a gladiator in the Coliseum, the two covers “Feel good hit of Summer” (Queens of the stone age) and  “Creeping death” (Metallica) and the eternal “Block”, a hymn for MH fans all over the world: “FUCK IT ALL!!”

While we recollected our strenght, our thoughts and our broken bones, we had the time to think we had just been to one best shows of the year, more intense, more strong and entertaining than ever. I suspect that MH too enjoyed the show because the guys were hot and crazy enough: thank God, I feel like we’ll see them again very soon….believe me!


“Bow down to no one

  Bow down to none….!”

                                        (MH,The more things change,1997)


Alberto Scremin   and Nicola Cavasin


[ Presentation ]  [ News ]  [ Reviews ] [ Interviews ]  [ Live Reports ]   [ Specials ]   [ F**king Bollox ]  [ Tours ]  [ Dates ]    [ In Store ]   [ Upcoming Releases ]  [ Underground]   [ Artwork ]  [ Videoclips ]  [ MP3's ]    [ Venues ]  [ CD's Archive ]    [ Links ]   [ Contacts ]  [ Forum ]  [ Gryphonbook ]

[ I Despair ]


© GryphonMetal.ch   2001-2003Niederrohrdorf - Switzerland