MACHINE HEAD has just released a new standalone single called "Circle The Drain". The track, which features guest drumming by Navene Koperweis (ENTHEOS, WHITECHAPEL, ANIMALS AS LEADERS, ANIMOSITY), can be streamed below. The song was once again produced by guitarist/vocalist Robb Flynn and co-produced by Zach Ohren (ALL SHALL PERISH, SUICIDE SILENCE) at Sharkbite Studios in Oakland, California. Joel Wanasek (ATTILLA, BLOODLINE) once again handled post-production duties, while Russ Russell (AT THE GATES, THE WILDHEARTS, DIMMU BORGIR) handled the beefy, guitar-heavy song mix at Parlour Studios in the U.K. Finally, the track was mastered by the same gentleman who mastered "Through The Ashes Of Empires", Greg Grimaldi at Oasis Mastering. Single art was created by Christian Sampson based on his photography project around mental disorders. Sampson compiled a list of 12 mental disorders, ranging from depression to schizophrenia to insomnia. The purposefully dark visuals are emotively powerful in their narration of the mental illness and image chosen for the single art is called "Panic".
Flynn describes "Circle The Drain" as the anti-Valentine's Day song.
"The song is inspired by an acquaintance of mine who returned from Afghanistan only to have his relationship fall apart with his girl," he says. "She had messed around on him, then got paranoid about him messing around on her, and drove him crazy. We had a conversation on Valentine's Day and he said to me, 'They were just circling the drain.' … The phrase struck me. A few days later I incorporated it into the song I'd been working on.
"It was a strange parallel with my life at the time, having recently had two bandmembers quit, and even more bizarrely, two long-time couple friends of my wife and I, also divorce. It was break-up season, and it played out with friends taking sides, people not being invited to certain events anymore, social and emotional pressure, and all the typical stuff that happens when a relationship goes bad.
"Watching this guy pull through it helped me pull through my own upheaval. The lyrics to 'Circle The Drain' came out of that frustrating time. It's a sad song about relationships gone bad, but accepting that it's over, and making yourself move on. It's written in a more metaphorical tone, as I didn't want it to be about my life, but to be about anybody's life who may be going through a rough time. It may not be a song that connects with everyone, especially those in a solid relationship, but if the day ever comes when your life goes awry, this song will be a lifeline for you, something to help pull you up out of that dark place.
"The irony that he and I had the original conversation on Valentine's Day, and are now releasing it on Valentine's Day isn’t lost on me. It really is the anti-Valentine's Day song."
"Circle The Drain" is the first new MACHINE HEAD song since "Do Or Die", which came out last October and was described by some fans and media outlets as a "diss" track aimed at MACHINE HEAD's detractors, in particular those who have been critical of the band's last album, 2018's "Catharsis".
Speaking about MACHINE HEAD's plans to put out new music, Flynn told "Robb's MetalWorks": "I'm always writing. I just kind of am writing. I think what the plan, going forward, is we're gonna write and then record. Rather than focus on an album every three years, which is kind of the pattern we've gotten into — about every three to four years, we drop a record — to just have a steady stream of standalone singles. And then some of those singles may end up on the next record, along with probably five or six other new songs, or they may not — we're still trying to figure it out.
"I love how the music industry has changed," he continued. "I love the power of the digital stuff and the ease of getting it out there to the fans. And I think we're just gonna keep doing that, man. I love the idea of dropping a new song every three or four months, rather than an album every three or four years. So we're gonna keep on doing that, and I'm excited about it."
According to Flynn, the fan response to "Do Or Die" was "great." He said: "It's already at over a million streams on Spotify. We dropped it out of nowhere — no announcement; no anything. Just, like, 'Here you go.' And this isn't fucking getting played on the radio or anything. So it was really cool, man. And I'm excited to be able to do more of that. And the fans seem to be excited about that too."
Last fall, MACHINE HEAD completed the first European leg of its 25th-anniversary tour for the band's classic debut, "Burn My Eyes". Each show on the trek consisted of two parts: part one saw Flynn and bassist Jared MacEachern performing alongside new recruits, Polish guitarist Wacław "Vogg" Kiełtyka (DECAPITATED) and British drummer Matt Alston (DEVILMENT, EASTERN FRONT); while part two featured "Burn My Eyes" played in its entirety for the first time ever, with original drummer Chris Kontos and guitarist Logan Mader joining in.
Flynn said that he has worked with both Mader and Kontos on some new MACHINE HEAD music. "Logan and I have already collaborated on a new song," he revealed. "I think that's another thing that's killer about it. Rather than the pressure of a record, to be able to do these standalone things and just see how it goes.
"I don't know where the fuck it's gonna go," he continued. "Nobody can look into the crystal ball. I just wanna keep on writing music and dropping music. Music's been such a powerful force in my life. And if these guys wanna write music, let's do it. Let's see what comes of it and see where it goes. And get lost — get lost in the music."
Asked about the musical direction of the new MACHINE HEAD material, Flynn said: "It's gonna be MACHINE HEAD. It's always gonna have that heaviness, it's always gonna have that vibe. It's gonna go everywhere. Some songs could be like 'Darkness Within'; some songs could be like fucking 'Aesthetics Of Hate'. It's everywhere in between."
The North American leg of the "Burn My Eyes" 25th-anniversary tour kicked off in Phoenix on January 16 and will continue across Chicago and Denver, wrapping up at the legendary Fox Theater in Oakland, California on February 21 and House Of Blues in Anaheim, California on February 22.