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Machine Head - Roundhouse, London - December 06 2014 (Live Review)

Tuesday, 09 December 2014 Written by Alec Chillingworth

With this, the first of two packed out shows at London's prestigious Roundhouse, Machine Head have a lot to live up to. Their intimate, tiny-as-a-Tic-Tac tour back in July laid the foundations for last month's blistering new album, 'Bloodstone & Diamonds', and now there's a horde assembled, baying for a first live taste of those tunes.

First up, Heart Of A Coward's prog-tinged hardcore is somewhat lost on the growing mob, but they make a good go of it nonetheless. Tracks from 'Severance' sound invincible and, given a headline audience, Heart Of A Coward would be seeing absolute carnage in front of them. Instead, they're greeted with patient applause and a half-arsed cry of 'I don't give a fuck!' orchestrated by front-man Jamie Graham during set-closer Deadweight. Still, it’s a much warmer reception than Bring Me The Horizon got supporting Machine Head back in 2011.

Next to have a crack at the audience are Darkest Hour and their modern metalcore fares slightly better. When they demand circle pits during Rapture In Exile, though, three testosterone-fuelled heavies slapping each other doesn't really count. At times their set verges on generic, but other moments sound glorious – we're talking those massive, Maiden-esque harmonies.

The main event arrives and the Bay Area behemoths rip into Imperium, with a venue-wide cry of 'Hear me now!' rumbling the Roundhouse's foundations. The main bulk of the setlist is what we’ve come to expect from Machine Head, with the sweeping epic Now We Die nestling in the bosom of their back-catalogue.

Robb Flynn's cry of 'So fucking heavy!' during Davidian couldn't be better timed and the singalong that closes Darkness Within would sound at home in a football stadium. Massive, mate. A smattering of surprise numbers towards the end of the gig makes tonight more than your run-of-the-mill Machine Head gathering, though.

Descend The Shades Of Night finds Flynn bellowing his way through pain-powered words with utter conviction and the crowd are with him for every syllable. Game Over's melodic, damn catchy refrain then throws out a challenge to any metal band going, while the title track of 2001's unfairly reviled 'Supercharger' gets bodies moving in an ocean of manky, hairy euphoria. 

They finish with Halo as Flynn and Phil Demmel's overblown, virtuoso soloing crowns the set, with confetti blasting over the audience at its monumental crescendo. They're Machine Fucking Head, and that's all we ever want them to be.

Machine Head Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue December 09 2014 - PORTSMOUTH Portsmouth Guildhall
Wed December 10 2014 - BRISTOL O2 Academy Bristol
Thu December 11 2014 - PLYMOUTH Pavilions
Sat December 13 2014 - GLASGOW O2 Academy Glasgow
Sun December 14 2014 - LEEDS O2 Academy Leeds
Tue December 16 2014 - MANCHESTER O2 Apollo
Wed December 17 2014 - NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Thu December 18 2014 - BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy Birmingham
Fri December 19 2014 - DUBLIN Academy

Click here to compare & buy Machine Head Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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