Back when the internet wasn’t really a thing, where streaming and downloading music didn’t even exist, somewhere in Oakland, California, a man known as Robb Flynn, listened to his favorite band Black Sabbath. It inspired him to learn to play guitar and later in 1991 he formed a band called Machine Head.
Flynn remains the only consistent member in this band. Other musicians who joined Machine Head come and go for various reasons. Its current lineup comprises Robb Flynn, bassist Jared MacEachern, lead guitarist Wacław Kiełtyka and drummer Matt Alston.
Flynn’s with other musicians during all this period can be described as a combination between alternative metal, nu metal, groove, trash and notes of heavy metal. Today, after 30 years, this band is the most beloved in the genre. They have released ten studio albums with face-melting metal tracks. Even though Not always at the peak of their creativity, the discography that they’ve left to the music world speaks itself.
In 1994 came their debut album called “Burn My Eyes’ ‘. It was an impressive appearance in the metal scene. It is the album that showed to the world how powerful metal can be. Really solid and consistently good metal album.
After that explosive first appearance, it wasn’t long before they returned with a next one in 1997–”The More Things Change… “. This time the band just turned to a different “road”. Away from the original sound, they showed themselves with more commercial metal style, but still one of the greatest works in their repertoire.
In 1999 “The Burning Red” pleased the fans of Metal music. Together with a flavor of the old music and a prelude to a new one, more comparable to modern currents, this album is proof that the band is growing and moving forward.
The fourth album came in 2001- “Supercharger”. This is an attempt for the band to reach different musical ambitions and to create more meaningful rock with mixes of punk and rap- metal leanings. Sometimes good, sometimes not so much.
“Through the Ashes of Empires” -2003 is one of the best albums of their career. The songs are passionate and breathtaking with glorious composition and good lyrics.
“The Blackening” – 2007 – heaviest riffs they ever recorded, this album is returning to their roots, we already know very well and love to listen to it. The band achieved these heights that it began with. They played more progressively and intensely and blew away their own previous work lyrically and conceptually.
“Unto the Locust” – 2011. The long anticipation for this album fully justifies its delay. This is one of their masterpieces. The guitars are crisp, fast with killer riffs. The vocals are angry and brutal. This is Flynn at his best.
“Bloodstone & Diamonds” -2014– this is definitely another step in climbing consistently music evolving. It’s hard to find words to even dare to describe the result of the team musicians in that very project. The soaring melodies, powerful drumming, aggressive vocals and memorable brilliant choruses made this musicianship very successful.
“Catharsis” – 2018 can be defined as real catharsis in the soul and freedom consciousness. This is what brings this album when listening to it. After so many years on the metal scene once more they return with a strong proof of incredible progressive brilliance in the metal genre.
“Of Kingdom and Crown” – 2022. This is their latest album. Recently I read an interview with Robb Flynn about what inspired him to write that album and he told that during the recent events worldwide, he’s got an opportunity to spend more time with his family and listen to a lot of music and watch anime with his sons. As a result of all this the album arrives with a massive force of ruthlessly guitar riffs, modern and precise sounding, but still remains the recognizable signature of everlasting Machine Head.
Machine Head live, 2015. Photo by Mark Derricutt (chaliceofblood.net)
Looking thoroughly into the equipment of Flynn throughout the years, one very interesting fact that took our attention was that he so much preferred the sound of Peavey 5150, that he owns eight 5150’s. Used it a lot for composing in the studio and never on the concerts and even named the head “Bubba”. He revealed in the interview that the magic of that specific 5150 Head comes once in a life and never modified it. Exactly from this model he achieves super-high-gain guitar sound.
What a nice surprise! Kuassa’s last Amplifikation VVV amp simulator, inspired from this legendary amp, is a perfect opportunity to recreate one of the beloved songs of the band Machine Head called “Davidian”. Natural harmonics mixed with heavy palm mutes with great amalgama between the drums and the bottom end, the guitar riffs are amazingly accented and tight.
The overall tone of the guitar is nothing complicated. But with careful analysis of the original mix, we can hear a slight chorus effect added to the main tone. Back in 1994, metal tones were a mix of old school and the emerging modern styles of the time. I believe that the guitars are solid, but with added chorus to add thickness and perhaps to add width and 3D dimension.
A noise gate will be used to start the guitar chain rig in our Amplifikation 360, followed by an overdrive to improve the low end of the amplifier, followed by an amp and cabinet, followed by an EQ for further shaping and to be able to get a tone that is more similar to that on the album and is almost ready for mixing.
The drive is almost at zero! We are using the overdrive for tone shaping and some kind of clean boost.
The amp is VVVB. It’s a later revision of the original, but it suits the tone very well. It’s “dark” but not muffled. So, it just works.
The chorus is after the amp and it’s engaged only on the right channel guitar.
The cabinet is captured only with one microphone, the Dynamic 421, with presence and body at the same time.
And finally the EQ
A curve that works for the recreation of the album tone. Here is the full preset in A360
A true creator does not need great events to push him to create. Sometimes it takes a simple act like doing something in everyday life with your loved one to make you write that masterpiece you’ve been striving for all your life.
Here you can hear the tone. The guitar is an Ibanez RG320 with stock pickups.
Here you can download the preset and copy it to your presets folder:
The preset file for A360 looks like this: VVV Machine – Davidian.ka360p copy the file after extracting it from the zip file at:
Stay tuned for more tones with history, explanation and preset for download!