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LIVE: Machine Head/DevilDriver/It Dies Today/Fallen Line

by Patrick Graham
The Engine Room -- 5/29/2005

Machine Head pic #1 FALLEN LINE:
The evening started at approximately 7:30 PM with these local Houston guys' performance. The music could be classified as the middle ground between hardcore and pop-punk; there were plenty of heavy guitar riffs, and the vocals alternated between unintelligible screams and tenor singing. The singer jerked his body around in time and occasionally swung the microphone around his arm. Between songs, he attempted to talk to the audience while pacing quickly back and forth and not looking out -- needless to say, he never got their full attention. Fallen Line suffered from "The Curse of the First Opening Band;" being the first of three opening bands for an act as big as Machine Head, general expectations of them were inherently low, so no matter how hard they tried, their performance was bound to be lackluster. They'll do better next time. [Ed. Note: We're sorry to report that since this review was written, Fallen Line have apparently broken up...]

This group was recently on tour with God Forbid, Caliban, and Full Blown Chaos but was forced to drop out of a number of dates due to the theft of their equipment. Fortunately, they've recovered, and they were back out on the road for the "States Turn Blue to Grey" tour with Machine Head. It Dies Today apparently go for the goth dress style: all five members wore black from head to toe, and the singer and guitarist both had black sleeveless shirts, jet black hair, and black eye shadow. They looked like the Madden brothers from Good Charlotte. Unfortunately, the band's stage presence was lacking; the singer walked around the stage and moved his body to the music as much as possible, but overall, the performance left something to be desired. The music wasn't unlike that of the aforementioned Good Charlotte, with vocals eerily reminiscent of those of Canadian punks A Simple Plan. Overall, It Dies Today bore a strong musical resemblance to a band called From Autumn to Ashes.

This quintet, made up of former members of the band Coal Chamber (they picked the name of a tool used by witches for their new group's name, so that should tell you something), changed the musical pace from hybrid hardcore pop-punk to good, clean heavy metal. DevilDriver filled the atmosphere with roaring melodies, clean screams, cool guitar harmonies, and plenty of testosterone. They played "Nothing's Wrong?," off of their debut self-titled album, and "Driving Down the Darkness" and "Hold Back the Day," from their new album The Fury of Our Maker's Hand. The members looked more like true metalheads than the previous bands, to boot -- they had long hair, wore t-shirts, and did a great deal of headbanging. Their performance was a fine one, worth seeing multiple times.

After a few hours' worth of opening acts, Machine Head took the stage, and the heavy riffage, screaming, and mosh pit insanity began immediately. Being as the band is almost eleven years old, they had a lot of material to choose from and played songs from their 1994 debut album Burn My Eyes all the way through to their most recent album, 2003's Through the Ashes of Empires. A little less than an hour in, the band played "Descend the Shades of Night," which lead singer Robert Flynn referred to as "an eight-minute elegy on death." Beginning and ending with lovely acoustic guitar and incorporating heavy electric guitar riffs, solos, and harmonies in the middle, it was the most musically amazing part of the evening. Afterwards, the band took a short break and then returned to play some cover songs, including Metallica's "Creeping Death," Queens of the Stone Age's "Feel Good Hit of the Summer," and Pantera's "Walk." There wasn't a weak moment in all of Machine Head's performance.

The show started out slowly, with the punk-sounding bands going first; it was difficult to stay patient. Things heated up and excitement grew, however, as soon as DevilDriver went on. Their strong performance paved the way for Machine Head, who tore it up in the end.

Machine Head -- http://www.machinehead1.com/; DevilDriver -- http://www.devildriver.com/; It Dies Today -- http://www.itdiestoday.com/; Fallen Line -- http://www.fallenline.com/


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