MACHINE HEAD released the official music video for the song “Arrows in the Sky Words” excerpt from the group’s tenth album “Of the Kingdom and the Crown”. The clip, which was selected from hours of footage taken over the past year “Vikings and Lionhearts” And “Electric Happy Hour (Live)” tours, was produced by Jon Watson and edited by maestro mike sloat.
Said MACHINE HEAD“We think the video perfectly captures the passion and intensity of Head Cases and the band at our live shows and also gives a behind-the-scenes look at life on the road with MACHINE HEAD.”
Frontman/Founder Robb Flynn adds: “The last videos have been very artistic and thematic, continuing the black and white scope of the concept record. For that, we just wanted to have an old school 90s style live video that is more or less a tribute to our absolutely crazy fans (the Head Cases) going crazy, mixed with a good old road life vibe getting hammered backstage.
In a 2022 interview with El Cuartel Del Metal, Flynn talked about the lyrical inspiration for “Of the Kingdom and the Crown”which was published last August via Nuclear explosion/Imperium Records. He said: “The concept is set in a futuristic wasteland where the sky is always crimson red, and it’s based on two characters. The number one character is named Ares (pronounced Aries), and he loses the love of his life, Amethyst, and goes on a murderous rampage against the people who killed her. Character number two is Eros (pronounced Arrows), who loses his mother to a drug overdose and, in his downward spiral, depression, is radicalized by this charismatic leader and goes on his own killing spree and is one of the people who killed Amethyst. And so the lyrics detail how their lives intertwine. The opening track, “Massacre the Martyr”, is basically… it’s the origin story of the number one character. He just lost the love of his life and he’s just on a murderous, venomous rampage and revenge is all he thinks about. And so the story unfolds from there.”
As for how it was inspired by the Japanese anime series called “The attack of the Titans” for the new MACHINE HEAD album, Flynn said: “When I started writing the concept, it was a very American story: it was good guy, bad guy, good guy wins. And I didn’t connect with it. It was good , but I couldn’t log in. I couldn’t get any emotion out of it. And then my family, my kids started watching – I have two teenagers and they both started watching a lot of anime during the pandemic. And we were all locked up anyway and we couldn’t get out.
“I was a real anime nerd when I was their age – “Akira” And ‘Space (Battleship) Yamato’ And “RoboTech” and all those animated series. So to see them go through the same thing, I was just like, “Man, that’s awesome.” And of course, it’s now modern and it’s super gory, and it was even better. So I was like, ‘Let’s look at this together. I will totally watch this with you. So we started watching it. And one of the things about this particular series – ‘The attack of the Titans’ — the part that inspired me was in this series there is no good or bad; both sides believe they are doing good, but both sides commit evil and atrocities. And it was like a total light bulb going off in my head. I was, like, ‘Oh, wow. Maybe I can write it like this.
“So… here I write through… Now I write not just through the eyes of one character, but through the eyes of an opposite character. And for a guy who’s written nine albums or so just through my eyes – my experiences; the way I see the world – now to have to try to write through these other characters, that was really cool,” he added. “It was really interesting and made the experience great.”
Asked if there was any research involved in writing lyrics for “Of the Kingdom and the Crown” or if it was all just in his head, robb said, “It was just in my head. Jared (MacEachernbass/backing vocals) also wrote a lot of lyrics — Jared contributed a lot of lyrics, and we bounced a lot of ideas off of each other. He found superb melodies, superb lyrics. But it was really about constantly writing and constantly waking up… Most of this record was written at three in the morning. (Laughs) I’m a total night owl – I wake up at 3am most nights and just do some work or write or whatever. So I would just set a timer for 20 minutes and just write anything that came to mind – stupid shit, killer shit. I would just try to make everything rhyme; I would try to make a sequence of it. And then I’d go back to bed, then wake up and watch it the next morning, then sing it or try to play along. And I think just doing that, kind of narrowing it down like that every day, really helped the story come together.”
The sequel to 2018 “Catharsis”, “Of the Kingdom and the Crown” includes all three songs that were on the 2021 “Arrows in the Sky Words” only: “Becoming the Firestorm”, “Rotten” And “Arrows in the Sky Words”. Much of the new MACHINE HEAD album was recorded at sharkbite studios in Oakland, CA with engineer/producer zack ears.
Flynn told Metal Hammer magazine about the musical direction of the new MACHINE HEAD material: “It’s similar to (2003’s “Through the Ashes of Empires” and 2007 “The Blackening”) in that we’re moving towards something fresh and new, but it has that classic MACHINE HEAD atmosphere. We have a lot to deliver and the expectations are very high, so I’m lucky to be surrounded by great people. Jared really stepped up and wrote great riffs and great vocals. Vogg (guitarist Wacław Kieltyka) brought in some ideas and brought in some really good songs.”
He continued: “It’s fucking heavy, probably the heaviest we’ve been on a few albums. I’ve been playing guitar so much lately; I do Electric Happy Hours every Friday and sometimes you play a song that you haven’t played in 10, 20 years, or gone through an entire album from top to bottom. “Burn My Eyes”, it brought me back to where I was writing this music. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to be in that place again lyrically, but riff-wise, I think it’s all spilled over on this album.”
In February 2022, MacEachern spoke to Primordial Radio about his contributions to MACHINE HEADhis new album: “I think I was very aware from day one that robb is the leader, he’s the creative leader, the musical leader… We all have our contributions but I think it’s always understood that ultimately the decision is up to him on how things go. But, yeah, I’ve definitely made contributions and I feel good about those contributions and people ask my opinion on certain things. But, as I said, I am his example.”
As for the sound of the new MACHINE HEAD PL, Jared said, “It’s a nice — to use robb‘s word… I think he used the word ‘colossal’ the other day. It’s a pretty big and epic album. We played with the order, but I listened, I sat down, I took the time to listen to it cover to cover, and the way it goes, it’s a ride – a really great, heavy, beautiful, melodic, furious and rhythmic ballad.”
In November 2020, MACHINE HEAD released a single, “My hands are empty”via Nuclear explosion. The song marked the first musical collaboration between Flynn and original “Burn My Eyes” guitarist Logan Mader in 24 years.
“My hands are empty” was just one of a series of singles to be released by MACHINE HEADwho published “Do or Die” in October 2019, “Circle the Drain” in February 2020, and the two-song digital single “Civil Unrest”made up of “Stop the Bleeding” And “Shielded”in June 2020. “Stop the Bleeding” featuring guest vocals from KILLSWITCH COMMITMENT leader Jesse Leachand was written and recorded just days after the murders of George Floyd And Ahmaud Arbery.