The Burning Red
Review by Elijah on January 27, 2020.
This is definitely Machine Head's worst album, but this album particularly isn't terrible. It just their least good one (for obvious reasons). They started out as pure groove metal on their debut Burn My Eyes, then introduced some other elements with their second album The More Things Change... , but this album was very unexpected for everybody. They went nu metal literally out of nowhere. A huge majority of Machine Head fans and other people generally hate this record because again, they changed genres so quickly and unexpectedly.
I can definitely understand why people would hate this and all that. Its lackluster nu metal coming from a groove band that this album spawned randomly. I get it. If I were to sum this up for those of you who don't understand, think of Sepultura. Think about "Beneath the Remains", then think of "Roots", that's pretty much it. But people seriously have to stop saying "NU METAL BAD THIS ALBUM SUCKS" etc., all that shit is purely just idiotic and stubborn. The Burning Red is definitely a step down that panders to the mainstream, but the songs are actually pretty good.
I wouldn't say Machine Head are great with pure nu metal, but the material offered here is pretty solid. Mainly the tracks 'From This Day' and 'Desire to Fire'. 'From This Day' is easily a nu metal song. Just everything, the guitars, the drum playing, and the rap-ish vocals that back it all up. Also, this song generally feels like a Korn song, they mix nu metal mainstream-ness with a little bit of heaviness as well. I don't know how to further explain it but 'From This Day' is a very good song. 'Desire to Fire' is the first track off this album and it just starts amazing. It has an intro that builds up very good and the riff is just outstanding. This is seriously one of the greatest riffs the band has ever written, this is stuck in my head all the time. Extremely catchy song for sure. These two songs in particular are the best this album offers compared to other songs.
The songwriting is okay for nu metal, could've been better for sure, but this isn't all that bad. All of the songs have something interesting and different about themselves and they all have catchy and memorable parts too. Every track has a little something. All the songs on this album are catchy (for the most part) and has good riffs. The inventive drumming creates an epic bouncy groove with the nu-styled riffs. Every track here is somewhat memorable; and again, catchy. Once you get more familiar with this album a lot of the tracks will be stuck in your head. Best part of this entire album is the inventive drumming that goes along with the presented riff. Greatness!
The bad parts about this album is that some aspects take the whole nu metal thing a tad too far. For example, the 2nd song opens up kinda heavy, then has a few sections where the guitar stops playing and it's just the bass and drums playing together making a dancy beat with Robb rapping over it. These parts should be scrapped. I understand these parts is what makes nu metal "nu", but these specific areas of the songs that some songs have makes the song less great. Also, the intro track and the last track. This album doesn't need an intro, 'Enter the Phoenix' is worthless and unnecessary. 'Desire to Fire' already opens up amazingly and has an awesome buildup, so there's literally no need for 'Enter the Phoenix' to be there at all. The title track (at the end of the album) is also just seriously unnecessary and boring as can be. I know it’s supposed to be inventive/an ending or whatever, the song generally isn't terrible; it's just so boring and not needed. All the songs on here have energy and are catchy, moving, etc. To have it end with a lame interlude-type track is a bad idea. Why? Beats me.
The Burning Red is generally and genuinely a good album. People need to stop giving it so much crap simply because it's nu metal, there's always something good in something that's not good. All the Machine Head hate in general just needs to stop, it's incredibly annoying and very stubborn. Obviously there's been a HUGE change in comparison to their two previous albums, but everything deserves a chance no matter how bad it is or how bad it may seem. Listen to the damn music and don't just play one song/skim the album and then proceed to call it "crap".
So yeah, this is a Machine Head album that took an unexpected twist and it's pretty weird and whatever, but I'm telling you, if you take the time to listen to every single track and evaluate and closely listen to this entire album, it will grow on you, at some point it will. You'll realize this album despite it being mainstream-focused, isn't bad. It's alright. Its good. It's awesome. You just have to make yourself become more familiar with it. Instead of shitting on Machine Head and this album because it's nu metal and cringe, how about you just take some time to actually listen to it? It's not that hard.
Rating: 8 out of 10523