We should probably forgo the astonishment that it's been almost 25 years since Oakland giants Machine Head released their magnificent debut album, Burn My Eyes. August 8, 1994, to be precise. And while it's safe to say that Machine Head have had a roller-coaster of a career since then, enduring countless highs and lows, and evolving throughout their nine studio albums to the point were it could be argued that they're not even the same band, the most astonishing thing is how good that debut sounds to this day. Not just good, but great, a raging masterpiece that could still go toe-to-toe with any of its contemporaries, not to mention showing the young bloods a thing or two.
Having said that, an awful lot of nonsense has been written in those intervening years about how Burn My Eyes breathed fresh life into a dying metal scene, broke boundaries, and helped to save the world from grunge. It didn't. Aside from the fact that grunge was already mourning the loss of Kurt Cobain, and that the likes of Soundgarden and Alice In Chains were a very welcome addition to the rock soundscape, the only thing grunge put a dent in was hair metal, rightly making the likes of Ratt and Poison redundant. Elsewhere, metal was doing just fine: Pantera were selling out huge venues in support of Far Beyond Driven, with the likes of Sepultura, Biohazard and Fear Factory snapping at their heels, and boundaries had already been broken, not least with the Judgment Night soundtrack of '93, which featured all kinds of unlikely genre-smashing collaborations. What Machine Head did, instead, was in many ways more impressive in that; seemingly overnight, they came crashing to the fore with a debut album that was as good as, if not better than, those bands who'd been around for years.
Not that it really happened overnight, of course: frontman/guitarist Robb Flynn already had a rich pedigree with Bay Area thrashers Vio-lence, and drummer Chris Kontos was known for punk/crossover bands like Attitude Adjustment and Verbal Abuse (later covered by Slayer on their Undisputed Attitude album), but, still, it was a rapid rise to the top. Formed in Oakland, California, on October 12, 1991, Machine Head started jamming in an old warehouse and recorded a demo for $800, the distorted vocals for which were apparently done over a house intercom. They signed to Roadrunner on October 10, 1993 (which Robb rather unwisely celebrated by OD'ing on heroin) and recorded their debut at Fantasy Studios, just across the bay in Berkeley, California, with producer Colin Richardson.