I forget exactly where I heard Davidian for the first time by Machine Head, but I dare say it would’ve been on a community radio station metal show of the time. “Let freedom ring with a shotgun blast” echoed through my speakers late at night and I was hooked into Machine Head from that moment.
I bought Burn My Eyes, Machine Head’s debut album on the day it was released. I drove to my local JB Hi-Fi, put it into my car stereo, and played the hell out of it. My 3 closest metal loving friends and I all had copies and would thrash it and sing along to it in each others' cars. It was a staple for any road trip, it was a party favourite, and it was in the top 5 metal CD’s in circulation at that time.
I remember going to see Machine Head at The Palace in St Kilda (June 2nd 1995, at the original and best Palace, which used to host The Cathouse). The crowd gathering as we turned up was insane. I miss that a bit actually, everything now seems a bit more subdued until you get inside, but back then, people would be driving past with the album blaring, people singing their favourite parts, screaming the band name randomly to responses of cheers and screams, it was a different time.
Being pretty young, we thought we’d take along a blow-up electric guitar to throw around the audience. This turned out to be a great idea in our eyes, as the guitar flew around the room it ended up on stage right in front of Logan Mader, who picked it up, looked at us down in front, strummed it, and threw it back to us. That’s the shit dreams are made of when you’re watching your favourite band play.
This was the impact that Burn My Eyes had on us. We hadn’t heard metal like this. Seems weird to say that, but there was something different about it, even though it was essentially from the bay area in San Francisco that produced arguably some of the best thrash metal ever. Burn My Eyes, borrowing influence from that thrash scene, was almost like an evolution of it.
Touching on events of the times, songs like Davidian, which reflected the David Koresh cult Branch Davidian tragedy in Waco Texas, the LA Riots in Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies, and condemning of profits from religious soliciting in Death Church.
Burn My Eyes resonated in a time when it needed to be said, just like Megadeth had done in 1990 with Rust In Peace, and Rage Against The Machine had done with their eponymous debut in 1992. Heavier bands were making noise (pun intended) about what was affecting their supporter base, and fans were taking notice.
Also, without getting too deep into what the songs were about, the music itself was just kick-arse. Three minutes into The Rage To Overcome to get that HUGE riff accented with trills and time changes in a time before breakdowns were fashionable.
And let us never overlook the absolutely beastly drumming provided by Chris Kontos on Burn My Eyes. His metronome double kick was legendary on this album. Tight as a fishes poop shoot, and monstrous. Take Blood For Blood for example. Massive.
Just when an album should be slowing down towards the end, nope, Machine Head drop that flat out thrashtastic ball breaker in there. The beauty of Burn My Eyes, I guess. To use a well-worn musical cliché - ALL KILLER, NO FILLER.