Review by Jack on October 3, 2001.
Machine Head were probably always noted for their fuel and energy injected music and Robert Flynn’s rusty clean vocal attack, amidst a heavy bass laden, drum onslaught and down-tuned guitar riffs. They burst onto the scene with their acclaimed debut “Burn My Eyes” and followed up with a perhaps, slightly shaky "The More Things Change", however they managed to redeem themselves with the rap/hardcore “The Burning Red” and now the newbie is finally out, we now have “Supercharger”.
Much hype and drama surrounded the release of “Supercharger”, promising to be anything from another “The Burning Red” with a harder sound and a few more bells and whistles thrown in for more jolly Machine Head mayhem, to going back to the roots of “Burn My Eyes”.
Well, (I think for the good incidentally) “Supercharger” is neither what various members of the music world have claimed it to be. Machine Head with “Supercharger” follow a sort of concept album of urbanization, electricity and working class themed music, song titles ‘Bulldozer’ and ‘Brown Acid’ being indicative of this.
Flynn’s voice has certainly gone through more refining on “Supercharger”, with his clean vocals sounding stronger and more ‘charged’ than ever. “Supercharger” had additionally held the existing lineup of Flynn/Duce/Luster/McClain together from the “The Burning Red” days, which has helped cement a patented Machine Head sound this time around.
Machine Head’s main worry with “Supercharger” is that they seem to be split into two minds on many of their songs. By that I mean the tracks are usually all a combo of insanely fast tempos with Flynn’s heavier vocals and then the track will subside into a slow brooding ballad halfway through the chorus, only to pick up the tempo five seconds later (see ‘Blank Generation’ and ‘Crashing Around You’). Whilst this may work with the majority of tracks on the album, some really do not work, which is quite disappointing.
Overall Machine Head have posted a solid follow up to the “The Burning Red” and they will continue to remain one of my favourite American bands (my favourite being Iced Earth). Best track: ‘Deafening Silence’.
Bottom Line: Machine Head return with an urban industrial tempo album, which is difficult to pigeonhole with the rest of their albums. The real bottom line is that this album is solid but not overly outstanding.
Rating: 7 out of 10