It’s hard to believe that the 25th of March will see the 20th annivesary of Machine Head’s sophomore album The More Things Change. Of all the albums in their formidable catalogue, this is the one that barely gets a mention and is often overlooked by both band and fans alike. At least The Burning Red and Supercharger get some mention….even if it is only to mock them! So, to celebrate its milestone anniversary we decided to give this often ignored album a moment or two in the spotlight.
So, why does The More Things Change get a bum deal?
Maybe the problem was that The More Things Change came in the wake of Burn My Eyes – easily one of the definitive metal albums of the 1990’s – and the question the band was left facing was how do you follow up an album as instantly iconic as their debut?
The answer was by not messing around with what was obviously a winning formula! The only noticeable difference was the recruitment of ex Sacred Reich drum maestro, Dave McClain. Apart from that, things pretty much stayed as they were with Colin Richardson, who they obviously felt comfortable with, back in the producers chair. However, this time Richardson had given them a monumentally filthy sound! While it may lack some of the hunger of its predecessor, The More Things Change remains cloyingly oppressive, with a bass sound that could mush the brain of anyone stupid enough to get in its way. The dual guitar attack of Flynn and Logan Mader was rough around the edges and full of grit. The music simultaneously thrashed and grooved, rolling over the listener like some sort of heavy metal tsunami. Meanwhile, new boy McClain acquitted himself well on his MH debut, keeping time with swiss-like precision.
Then there’s the songs.
At times, The More Things Change seemed to copy the template laid down by its predecessor. Like “Davidian” before it, “Ten Ton Hammer” had hooks big enough to reel in a megalodon and if you’re not roaring along with Flynn by the end of it there’s every possibility you’re either deaf or dead. The following two tracks, “Take My Scars” and “Struck A Nerve”, were nasty wee thrashing bastards; the latter in particular revelling in an almost punkish intensity. Sticking with the format of their debut, in place of “None But My Own” and “The Rage To Overcome” we now had the sonically similar “Struck A Nerve” and “The Frontlines”.
Lyrically, the two albums also dealt with the same subjects; namely drugs, urban decay, corruption and the human spirit. Always a fine lyricist, over the years Flynn has managed to reign in his anger a little, which only naturally comes with age. but The More Things Change was a hate filled tirade aimed at anyone or anything that got in his way. From start to finish, this was gritty streetwise metal that had that special ‘something’ that most people could relate to.
The More Things Change is undeserving of its reputation as the ‘lost’ member of the Machine Head family. It’s chock full of great songs and performances and while it may not equal the intensity and impact of Burn My Eyes….it’s not far behind it!
20 years! Get it on your stereo!