8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A tyrannical titan of an album,
This review is from: Burn My Eyes (Audio CD)
With "Burn My Eyes," Machine Head ratcheted up the intensity of early thrash metal to create a monstrous masterpiece of epic proportions. Call this oversimplification if you will, but this album is heavy, heavy, heavy. However, there is far more to it than just heaviness. "Burn My Eyes" is also distinctive, diverse, and intelligent. And did I mention it's heavy?
Right from the beginning, Machine Head make it clear what you, the listener, are in for. Opener "Davidian" is a chugging monster with massive riffs, lots of bass, and precise drumming, and as far as memorable choruses go it's hard to beat Robb Flynn shouting "Let freedom ring with a shotgun blast!" The next two songs follow the same pattern, so it's somewhat of a surprise when the band starts out slow on "None But My Own." But it works, just like everything else of the album. Just listen to track seven, "A Nation on Fire." The verses are pretty slow, but the song builds in intensity through the pre-chorus and and another insanely anthemic chorus (perhaps no album has more memorable refrains than this one). And then, four and a half minutes in, when the song would have every right to end, it takes off on a blindingly fast thrash fest. But whatever speed the band is at, be it fast, slow, or midtempo, it's always suitably caustic and grinding for a thrash album.
Everything I've mentioned above would be at least enough for a four-star rating, but what really sets "Burn My Eyes" apart are the lyrics. Although Machine Head talk about societal problems, in the grand tradition of such thrash pioneers as Metallica and Megadeth, the lyrical content of "Burn My Eyes" is often anything but negative. My personal fave, "A Nation on Fire," is a perfect example of the band's lyrical bent. Despite the fact that it details the decay of American society, the song's real message is that even in the face of social decay, people must find strength within themselves. Lines like "I won't break, it gives me strength," and "I won't go down, stand my ground" give the song an uplifting, redemptive message that is lacking in so much of today's radio-ready complaint rock. Machine Head preach persevering through problems rather than simply whining about them, a fact that gives "Burn My Eyes" its true power.