Robb Flynn on Writing New Machine Head Album: 'I Was in a Riff Rut, Every Riff I Wrote F--kin' Sucked'

Frontman also announces new song about infamous Manson murders, quotes Bob Dylan and more.

Ultimate Guitar

Machine Head mainman Robb Flynn gave a fresh update on the band's upcoming album writing process, admitting going through a rough writing patch along the way.

"With this record in particular, I've tried to discipline myself more with routine, writing a little bit every day, but for months I was in a riff rut," Robb told Metal Hammer. "Every riff I wrote f--kin' sucked!"

Luckily, the frontman managed to overcome his mental obstacle and get back to full speed ahead. "Then we took a two-week break and I was writing my Facebook journals about the 'Through the Ashes of Empires' story, and that cleared my head," he explained. "At the end of those two weeks, the floodgates opened and all hell of riffs poured out. I was so stoked! This torrent of riffs, this molten hot lava, was at my fingertips. It's such a good feeling."

Further discussing the new material, Flynn confirmed signature Machine Head sound. "It's definitely moving forward, which I feel like we're probably always gonna do," he added (via Blabbermouth). "We're not a band that ever looks back. We do our thing and try to take the life experiences that we have and the musicianship that we've evolved and try to use it. Obviously, we have our sound and we have the Machine Head patented harmonics, the downtuned riffs and I sing the way I sing."

Robb then summed it all up with a Dylan quote, saying, "I think Bob Dylan said it best: 'You just find new ways to say the same thing.'"

Some of the tentative fresh song titles include "Killers and Kings," "Beneath the Silt," "Ojos De La Muerte," "Sail Into the Black" and "Night of the Long Knives." The frontman decided to focus on the latter tune, revealing a Manson murders theme. "I've got some pretty cool lyrics ready," he noted. "There's a song called 'Night of the Long Knives,' and it's pretty f--ked! It's about the Manson murders, and the lyrics are really dark and vicious."

Machine Head are aiming to hit the studio in early February and have the new album out sometime in 2014 as a follow-up to 2011's "Unto the Locust."

39 comments sorted by best / new / date

    If the new album is half as good as Unto the Locust thats good enough for me. that album kicked some serious ass
    To me, The Blackening is still their best album and it would be seriously hard to top it. Unto The Locust was a killer album though too!
    I agree. The Blackening is quite possibly one of the best metal albums of all time. Halo still gives me a big boner every time it plays.
    But it's not. Don't get me wrong, it's a great album, but not one of the best. Also, using "of all time" is wrong. Heavy metal hasn't been around for "all time."
    No. Stop using "of all time" for things that have only accounted for a mere fraction of "time." It's annoying.
    I don't think Locust came near close to touching The Blackening, TTAE or Burn My Eyes. Those 3 are the seminal Machine Head albums. Even The More Things Change I felt was better. I think the deep introspective lyrics were what threw me a bit. They've always been great at spewing vitriol all over social commentary and things that affect the wider world, and I'd be hoping for more of that in the future. Along with more gritty guitars, without the 1000 layers of things. They're not a post rock band.
    i agree. i will say i do like unto the locustfor what it is, there is some killer riffs and solos on that album. but the first time i heard it i was disappointed because i freaking love the blackening. im hoping that they expand like they usually do but bring in the elements of the blackening back, like the anger darkness and grittiness.
    Well yeah, if you went into the album expecting another Blackening, that's your first problem. Of course, they're not going to write another Blackening. They will always write what they want to and as a fan, you have to either appreciate it for what it is or don't.
    I wish they record an instrumental song. They're great songwriters and are getting better everyday, Instrumental song can show their strength.
    Machine Head is a huge influence on me and my playing and I loved the last three albums. Cheers to Machine Head!
    Great live band but I tried numerous times and I just can't get into machinehead
    Agreed. I've seen them live before, and I honestly don't remember a single thing that stood out to me from their set...
    Wow, I expected some major negative feedback but I guess it says something when all of your metalhead friends don't listen to machinehead either
    Part of me really wants this record to sound like a Metallica/Guns n'Roses/Megadeth rip-off, just to see what happens...
    Is that a rip on A7X? Robb already tore them a new one for their last record so that's definitely not happening.
    I'm aware of that, and whilst he had a valid point his comments were still tinged with jealousy for me - which is why it would amuse me if they did the same thing, intentionally or unintentionally.
    I think his point was 'of course you can be successful if you copy Metallica'. I don't think he's after success, just enough money to get by, fans that want a new album and shows and self-respect.
    The problem is that there's a million bands that rip off Metallica that haven't amounted to shit. Not saying sevenfold's right, just saying people are buying it so it's working.
    That wasn't funny when someone said it on blabbermouth 2 days ago and it's not funny now.
    Hope this effort tops the last, wasnt a fan of Unto the locust, lacked the danger for me. But thats for me, was still a fantastic record, hope this next one brings the pain.
    I hope for something similar to the last two ablums, but I'd like to hear less song length for the sake of song length stuff. I think MH could write even better songs if they stuck to the 4.5-6 minute mark instead of 7-10 minute stuff.
    I think the length of the songs really benefit MHs writing style. I think if they cut a lot of their tracks they would lose a lot of important moments and the result would be watered down MH songs. Clenching the Fists of Dissent is one of my favorite MH songs and it is over 10 minutes. It probably wouldn't register if it didn't have half the stuff in it. That's why I hope they stick to that style.
    I had the same feeling with Death Magnetic by Metallica. If they trimmed the 'fat' a bit (i.e. unnecessary breakdowns and overly repetitive choruses, I would've enjoyed it a bit more. Well, that and the production quality of course)
    long as they get back to the grooving sound of the first album or through the ashes... locust was overproduced and didn't do much for me.
    Well at least he wasn't just throwing every shitty riff in there, more guitarists should take a leaf from this book.