Words – Clare
Photos – Mitch

There was no way that EM would miss seeing Machine Head live on their Slaughter the Martour World Tour, especially since their last anniversary tour was devastatingly cancelled back in 2020. Not only are Machine Head part of our, and well, everybody’s metal history but they’re amazing entertainers and still killing it today on the music front. This band also genuinely loves their fans and this comes across in their stellar performances. This was an especially symbolic night for EM’s founder and head photographer who easily lists Machine Head as an all-time favourite band, so to be shooting them from the front row was one off the bucket list. With special guests Fear Factory the nostalgic kick was even more cemented. It was only a fortnight ago that I was at home watching Mortal Kombat and there was a sick track playing during the fight between Liu Kang and Reptile and I was like, ah shit, that’s Fear Factory’s Zero Signal (spoiler alert, it was totally on their set list for the tour).

Frankenbok wasted no time at all slamming into their 25-minute set as the slew of fans slowly got ushered into The Forum. They played hard and they played fast with their newer tracks Rolling Dice Dirty Streets, Confidence Man, Fight Back, Lady Nicotine, Heart With Fire, and Monk Discipline, sufficiently getting the pit all warmed up for the festivities ahead.


The new era for Fear Factory graced our shores for this tour which includes the well-known and longtime guitarist Dino Cazares, the exceptional bassist Tony Campus from Static-X and Soulfly and the newcomer Italian-born vocalist Milo Silvestro. Immediately young Milo impressed the fans, he cocked his back and spit erupted into the sky before he showed us what his pipes could do with Shock. The crowd responded with raucous applause. Also from their 1998 album release Obsolete they followed with Edgecrusher, the members headbanging in unison to each crushing beat. For Dielectric the crowd’s fists were in the air and before Fuel Injected Suicide Machine began the crowd roared ‘I HATE EVERYTHING’. Saving the best for last, Milo slayed Demanufacture, stepping across the pit, and connecting with the fans in the front rows. This was followed by Zero Signal with an added ‘FATALITY’ voice-over which opened the floor right up for a circle pit. Dino leaned into his mic, ‘Every time I come to Melbourne you guys fucking kick ass’. It was at this point the whole venue sang Happy Birthday to Tony Campus before the band slammed back some shots in celebration. The evening followed with Replica and a hugely uplifting deliverance of Resurrection which was dedicated to any and every person in the crowd who has struggled. Resurrection lifted us up and left us energised and hopeful.


The house lights went out and digital blood-splattered Machine Fucking Head lit up the backdrop and immediately the crowd faced the stage, fists up in the air. The first half of the set was filled with huge blasts of smoke from the stage, middle fingers and the pit jumping through tracks Imperium, Ten Ton Hammer, Choke on the Ashes of Your Hate, and Aesthetics of Hate. Robb Flynn then took us back in time to the early 90’s for the band’s demo album with Old ‘Get your goddamn devil horns in the air!’. The epic 2011 track Locust would follow along with the melodic anthem of Beautiful Mourning.


Then for the first time in over a year, Machine Head offered to play a cover song but in the style of choose your own adventure, we had the power to choose from 3 songs. 1. Metallica’s Motorbreath, 2. All The Small Things by Blink-182 or 3. Iron Maiden’s Hallowed Be Thy Name. With a distinct roar for Maiden, the band began to play, faking us out with the intro to All The Small Things before cracking on to the crowd favourite Hallowed Be Thy Name. 2022’s Slaughter the Martyr ignited more smoke bursts with 2001’s Bulldozer forcing more horns to the sky and many heads nodding in agreement to the breakdown. ‘Any old school metal heads here tonight’ asked Ronn as the band entered the track From This Day from the 1999 album release The Burning Red. As the night came to a close we got to scream ‘Let freedom ring with a shotgun blast’ as loud as satisfyingly possible to Davidian and after giving it up for one of Machine’s Head favourite bands the ‘mighty Fear Factory’ with fierce applause, Machine fucking Head encored with a fan favourite Halo. Pillars of smoke permeated the stage for the final time while Robb sported a smile from ear to ear while duelling guitars ‘Thank you Melbourne, you are some bad mother fuckers, you made us feel good tonight, we love you!’.


Huge thanks to the Forum Melbourne crew for having us and a special thanks to John Howarth for arranging media access.