As successful as it has been over the long run, Machine Head’s career has been anything but smooth sailing. In fact, the group has weathered many challenges, both external and self-inflicted, but they always seem to bounce back in the end, with a resilience personified by the band’s de facto leader, frontman Robb Flynn.

For much of the 1980s, Flynn tried unsuccessfully to join the upper echelons of thrash, putting in crucial apprenticeships in not one, but two, contributors to that movement, in Forbidden (Evil) and Vio-lence. But, once the latter band disintegrated in 1991, Flynn wasted little time before assembling Machine Head with bassist Adam Duce, guitarist Logan Mader and drummer Tony Costanza, soon replaced by Chris Kontos (and later Dave McClain, for the long haul).

Before too long Machine Head was signed to Roadrunner Records and, by 1994, they were making a bigger splash than both of Flynn’s prior bands combined with the release of Burn My Eyes, which All-Music Guide reviewer John Franck aptly described as “[bridging] the gap between second-generation Bay Area thrash and the Pantera school of hard knocks.”

Like Pantera, Machine Head appeared poised to thrive like few other heavy metal bands in the alternative rock-dominated 1990s, but the rest of the decade would be marked by instability instead. While their albums dithered between playing it safe (1996’s The More Things Change…) and risking too much (‘98’s The Burning Red), then safety again (‘00’s Supercharger), the band’s lineup suffered contiguous upheaval.

Finally, the recruiting of Robb’s old-time Vio-lence guitar foil Phil Demmel helped steady the personnel and creative departments for acclaimed albums like ‘03’s Through the Ashes of Empires, The Blackening, Unto the Locust and Bloodstone and Diamonds. Unfortunately, the later was preceded by a bitter separation from Duce, but it goes without saying that Machine Head will continue so long as Robb Flynn is at the reigns.

So check out our gallery to see how Machine Head’s albums got ranked.

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