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Machine Head Debut New Song “Do or Die”

  • Axl Rosenberg

The new Machine Head song that we first learned about more than a month ago, “Do or Die,” has now finally been released. The track is notable for a couple of reasons (besides it being Machine Head, I mean).

For one thing, it’s the band’s first song without drummer Dave McClain since Burn My Eyes came out 25 years ago, and their first song without guitarist Phil Demmel since 2001’s Supercharger… but it doesn’t actually introduce a “new” Machine Head the way fans maybe thought it would. Although guitarist Wacław “Vogg” Kiełtyka (Decapitated) and drummer Matt Alston (Devilment, Eastern Front) are currently part of the European BME anniversary tour and appear in the “Do or Die” video, apparently neither recorded the song itself — as previously announced, the drums are by Warbringer’s Carlos Cruz, and I guess Flynn did all the guitars himself. Furthermore, when the North American run of that same tour was announced earlier this week, a press release told us that the band’s lineup will be rounded out by “two, soon-to-be-announced ragers on guitar and drums,” with the implication being Kiełtyka and Alston will not be part of that trek. So the duo do not appear to be full-time recruits, although that remains to be seen.

For another thing, it’s Machine Head’s first song since they released their divisive album Catharsis in 2018, so naturally there’s a question of how it will be received (a subject the song’s lyrics actually seem to address). The track is definitely a rager, and there’s a section around the 1:55 mark that ably demonstrates Flynn’s gift for writing heavy as fuck elephants marching riffs… in other words, I don’t think a certain portion of the band’s fanbase will bristle at this the way they did at, say, “Triple Beam.” But the Internet is a wacky place so who the crap knows.

And the last reason the track is extra-notable is because it’s the band’s first song under their new release model, which Flynn has said will see the band doling out “a steady stream of standalone tracks” that eventually “may or may not end up on an album.” The idea being to “put stuff out faster and get new music out quicker to the die-hards.” So now we get to see how that model will be received, and whether or not it’s a viable methodology for Machine Head (and other bands for that matter) to utilize in the future.

You can check out “Do or Die” via the below music video; it’s also available now via the usual digital outlets. The Burn My Eyes anniversary tour, in case you’ve been living under a rock, consists of two sets: one in which Flynn, bassist Jared MacEachern, and the band’s new (possibly just touring) members playing a career-spanning show, following by Flynn, MacEachern, and returning Burn My Eyes-era members Logan Mader (guitar) and Chris Kontos (drums) performing that album in its entirety.

Dates and tickets for all shows across both continents are here!

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