MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn spoke to the "Behind The Vinyl" podcast about the band's new song "Become The Firestorm", which has been described by some fans as one of the most brutally aggressive tracks MACHINE HEAD has ever recorded. Asked about the supposed "black metal" influence on the song's riffing approach, Flynn said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I don't know if I'm drawing necessarily from black metal, because I grew up in the thrash scene and so I would probably say it's more like something like POSSESSED 'Seven Churches', because that was a band that I would have seen that would have been doing the tremolo picking type of stuff — so, shit like that. But, yeah, all that early death metal was such a big… I think my third or fourth show was POSSESSED before 'Seven Churches' was even released. So that type of death metal really had a big, big impact… I loved POSSESSED, man — I fucking loved that band. And I loved that record, and I still love that record. I think Jeff Becerra — I love that he's going on and continuing the band and singing from a wheelchair. I just think he's a total badass for doing that."
According to Flynn, all three tracks from MACHINE HEAD's recently released "Arrows In Words From The Sky" single — "Become The Firestorm", "Rotten" and the title track — as well as "My Hands Are Empty", which came out in November, will be included on the band's next full-length studio album. "And the other stuff is just gonna stay kind of in whatever void it came out in — and probably be released on a collection of songs with a bunch of other B-sides at some point, a physical version," he said, referring to "Do Or Die", which was made available in October 2019; "Circle The Drain", which came out in February 2020; and the two-song digital single "Civil Unrest", consisting of "Stop The Bleeding" and "Bulletproof", which was released in June 2020. "But for now, these four songs, and then some future songs, are gonna make up the next record."
Asked if the "turbulent" nature of the last couple of years was a good thing for him creatively, Flynn said: "Oh, totally. I'm an impatient man. [Laughs] I want it, and I want it now. And the music business can be mind-numbingly slow at times. And certainly with the pandemic now, just the lead time to set up a record is, like, seven months. Vinyl is fucking seven months. If I turned in a record today — done, mastered, finished, artwork, everything — we're not gonna get the vinyl until seven months from now. I'm, like, 'This is fucking crazy.' And I don't wanna wait; I just wanna put it out.
"When I started in the [1980s] thrash scene, bands put out demos and fucking rehearsals and new songs every month or two," he explained. "I had every EXODUS song released just from bootlegs and from demos and stuff like that. Same with METALLICA. And it was just so much faster. And the world has just kind of shifted into this extremely slow — certainly the metal world has. And I wanted to bring it back to that… Yes, I'm not releasing a cassette tape, but yeah, I'm putting it out so that if the diehards wanna hear it, you can fucking hear it. And consistently do that — consistently put out music so that it's constantly giving the fans, the diehard fans, the Head Cases, the ones who fucking live and breathe this shit, something to chew on every three or four months. And I really dig it. I think it's amazing. And I think that we have the technology — thanks to Spotify and all the streaming services now — [so that] we can do this shit. So why not?"
"Arrows In Words From The Sky" was recorded at Sharkbite Studios in Oakland, California. Joining Flynn and bassist Jared MacEachern during the sessions were drummer Navene Koperweiss (ENTHEOS, WHITECHAPEL, ANIMALS AS LEADERS) and producer Zack Ohren.
"Stop The Bleeding" featured guest vocals from KILLSWITCH ENGAGE frontman Jesse Leach, and was written and recorded just days after the murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery.
Earlier this month, MACHINE HEAD announced that it was abandoning plans to resume its "Burn My Eyes" 25th-anniversary tour now that the pandemic is slowing down.
Last July, MACHINE HEAD canceled its previously announced rescheduled 2020 tour dates for Europe and Australia due to the coronavirus crisis which was sweeping the globe. At the time, it was assumed that those shows would finally happen once the band was able to return to the road.
Flynn said that the "Burn My Eyes" tour, which saw him and MacEachern play the band's classic debut album in its entirety for the first time ever, with original "Burn My Eyes"-era drummer Chris Kontos and Mader joining in, would not pick up at such a time as MACHINE HEAD can continue touring. Flynn also confirmed that MacEachern is still a member of MACHINE HEAD alongside new recruits, guitarist Wacław "Vogg" Kiełtyka (DECAPITATED) and British drummer Matt Alston (DEVILMENT, EASTERN FRONT), all of whom also performed on the "Burn My Eyes" 25th-anniversary tour.