Machine Head is an American heavy metal band from Oakland formed in 1991 by vocalist/ guitarist Robb Flynn and bassist Adam Duce. They are considered one of the pioneering bands in the new wave of American heavy metal and part of the second wave of thrash metal bands from the 1990s. Flynn and Duce recruited guitarist Logan Mader and drummer Tony Costanza to form the band. They recorded a demo in a friend’s bedroom for $800. An executive from Roadrunner listened to the demo and signed the band to the label. They entered Fantasy Studios in Berkeley to record their debut album, Burn My Eyes, which showcased a groove metal and thrash approach similar to bands like Pantera and Exhorder. Not long into production, Costanza left the band and was replaced by Chris Kontos. Most of the songs on the album were written by Flynn and Duce during the time Flynn was not in the band, about being “pissed off” from his previous struggles in the band Vio-lence, as well as both of their battles with drugs.
Produced by Colin Richardson, the album was released on August 9, 1994. The album shipped 400,000 copies worldwide, becoming Roadrunner’s best-selling debut album. Allmusic reviewer John Franck stated, “Burn My Eyes is a bone- shattering exercise in brutality.” Not long after the debut was released, they started touring heavily in support of the album, opening for Slayer in Europe in the latter half of 1994, a tour which ended with their own headline show at the London Astoria. Following the success of the support tour, the band returned to Europe for a headline tour in early 1995, performing in the same venues they opened for Slayer. The band returned to Europe for the summer festival season but Kontos refused to tour so Walter Ryan was used for festival dates. Kontos was eventually fired and moved on to play with Testament, and was replaced by Dave McClain. The band’s first four albums earned them a growing fan base in Europe, however the band would not find success in the US until later releases.
Machine Head has released nine studio albums, two live albums, one video album, 13 singles and 15 music videos. Four of the band’s studio albums have been certified silver in the UK, and the band’s highest peak on the Billboard 200 came with Bloodstone & Diamonds at number 21. As of 2013, the band has sold over three million records worldwide. The band’s current line up consists of Flynn, bassist Jared MacEachern, guitarist Wacław Kiełtyka and drummer Matt Alston. Duce, guitarists Logan Mader, Ahrue Luster, and Phil Demmel, and drummers Tony Costanza, Chris Kontos and Dave McClain are former members. Mader and Kontos are currently touring with the band as part of the 25th anniversary for Burn My Eyes.