machine fucking head - liveLive albums are a tricky business and for some bands they work perfectly for, Metallica and Iron Maiden in particular have about a million live releases between them. Then there are bands that they don’t really work for. Would you want to sit at home and listen to a Slipknot show or actually see it? Machine Head are one of those bands that has fared well with live releases, having already clocked up two to their name in the form of an album “Hellalive” and a DVD “Elegies”.  They translate in this medium due to their stage show being absolutely bastard heavy, but not so theatrical or over the top that you feel you are missing out by not having the visual aid.

Their latest foray into the live album arena, the subtly titled “Machine Fucking Head Live” could have benefited from being accompanied by a DVD of a show on their current touring run. This new live album has been recorded on the bands latest touring cycle, promoting 2011’s opus “Unto the Locust” and was recorded on a few different stops. The reason I say the DVD would have been a benefit is that this tour saw Machine Head take their stage show to the next level in terms of production (as shown on the album cover) and a visual representation of this would have been nice, but it’s a minor gripe.

This collection was recorded at various different stops which creates a kind of jarring quality when listening to it. Different locations are mentioned throughout and it takes you out of the moment for a second. However, given the number of times Manchester is mentioned, it would have made sense for the whole thing just to have been lifted from the Manchester show on the tour, thus creating a cohesive set list run through.

As expected, the album showcases how tight Machine Head are as a live band and is on a par with their previous releases, but without actually seeing it, it can be hard to judge just how far their show itself has progressed. I found with the album was purely preferential, meaning it contained too much material from the latter half of the bands career with nearly all of “Unto the Locust” being showcased. There is not enough material from their older albums to appease older fans, but that statement is largely down to my own personal preference.

“Machine Fucking Head Live” is a good reminder of how good Machine Head sound live and is a good little release for anyone that saw them on this touring cycle. If you have the other live album releases then it is far from an essential purchase. Whether or not you should buy this album will come down to three things, whether or not you already own a live releases, your desire to own live recordings of material from “The Blackening” and “Unto the Locust” and how strongly you like Machine Head.

Machine Head – Facebook Page