Machine Head: Still Pissed

Machine Head's Phil Demmel talks new rage

While “Clenching the Fists of Dissent,” Machine Head's lead guitarist, Phil Demmel, makes his descent Into the Void to briefly discuss the band’s punishing new album, The Blackening, due March 26 on Roadrunner Records.

Into the Void: A lot of people feel like they already know what to expect from Machine Head, since the band’s been around for more than a decade now. How is The Blackening turning a new page for the group?
Phil Demmel: I really feel like it was the last record, Through the Ashes of the Empire, which really turned a new corner for Machine Head. After all of the struggles with labels and everything else, the outlook of the band became very focused and determined. This is only the second real Machine Head album as far as I’m concerned. People that think they know the band because they’ve heard Burn My Eyes or Burning Red really need to check this out, because it’s not the same.

ITV: The one thing that really sticks out about The Blackening that separates it from the rest of Machine Head’s stuff is the guitar work. You and [singer/guitarist] Robb Flynn seem to just run wild. With songs reaching into the 10-minute range, there’s obviously not a real concern for commercial singles. What led to that change in direction?
PD: We got to the point where we really asked ourselves who we were writing this for. After that, we just let go and started to really do what we wanted to do. There are still going to be singles. We’re going to edit down “Now I Lay Thee Down” and “Aesthetics of Hate” for music videos, but we wanted the album to really reflect what we’re all about.

ITV: This was the first whole album that you worked on with Machine Head. How was that experience for you?
PD: I’ve been playing with Robb for as long as I can remember, before we were even in Violence together. I feel comfortable bringing ideas to the table, and Robb and I were really feeding off of each other in terms of the guitar playing.

ITV: How do you feel Robb Flynn’s work with the Roadrunner United project effected the sessions for The Blackening?
PD: If anything, I think it detracted from it a bit, only because a couple of those songs would have been really good Machine Head songs, especially “The Dagger.”

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Austin Powell
Crosstalk: The American Analog Set Due for Numero Group Reissue Treatment, and More Music News
Crosstalk: The American Analog Set Due for Numero Group Reissue Treatment, and More Music News
Blaze Foley’s Outhouse online & Broken Spoke's historic marker

April 6, 2023

SXSW Music Spotlight: Hermanos Gutiérrez
SXSW Music Spotlight: Hermanos Gutiérrez
Two guys from Switzerland venture spaghetti Western instrumentals

March 10, 2023


Machine Head, Robb Flynn, Phil Demmel

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle