A couple weeks ago, I saw Metallica play in Boston with The Sword and Machine Head opening. While The Sword was OK (although the audio mix stunk), and Metallica completely rocked, the band that I enjoyed the most was Machine Head. I've always been a Metallica fan, but never got into real thrash. Machine Head has been around since the early 90s, but it took a random chance to see them live to really get a sense that thrash could be more than just screaming vocals and loud guitars.
Of course, my wife would disagree with that last statement, but that's OK. I love her despite her taste in country music.
The next day, I created a few thrash stations on Pandora to see if I'd just been prejudiced against thrash in favor of the tighter sounds of bands like Metallica and Megadeth or whether Machine Head was somehow special.
It turns out that it was a little of both. Machine Head's recordings and live performances are loud, angry, aggressive, and filled with incredible drum rhythms, dual guitars, and killer bass lines. A few other bands like Pantera and Sepultura caught my ear, but Machine Head made me groove, no matter what.
The majority of the songs they played live came from their latest album, The Blackening. I seriously can't get enough of this album and the song "Halo" has become a live anthem that they perform brilliantly. You can't help but raise your fists in the air as Machine Head's two guitarists stand side by side and play a ripping dual solo (yes, that is an oxymoron, but if you'd seen it, you'd call it a dual solo, too), while the dual bass drums pound in your chest.
The Blackening is, without a doubt, their most technically complex, tightly-produced studio album, but all their releases are utterly worth a listen. Check out their website for their entire discography, but mostly, get out there and check them out live.