Machine Head 25th Anniversary Ė a Preview

I never liked "Machine Head" that much. To me "In Rock" and, yes, even "Who Do We Think We Are" was far better. To my ears there was something wrong with the sound on MH, I always wondered if it had to do with how it was recorded or maybe something worked not out very well with the mix. I had high hopes regarding MH25. Having heard IR25 and F25 it was clear to me that the possibilities were there to revamp MH in a way no one expected or would think possible.

So when my preview copy arrived I was anxious to find out what the (re) master himself, Roger Glover and all those others involved had made of it and see if the machine heads were properly used to tune the sound of this album.

Off it goes with "Highway Star", and hey... this sounds good! And whatís more itís getting better and better. Itís goodbye to that dull, distant sound and hello high-hat in the middle and a crystal clear guitar coming at you from every angle. And yes thereís the famous Rickenbacker rumbling and thundering like never before. And aahh, thereís Jon Lord, keyboard wizard numero uno doing things you failed to hear on the original but are very audible this time around. Hearing this I knew there were more surprises to come and boy I wouldnít be disappointed. "Maybe Iím A Leo" is how we know it, be it that it too benefited from the remix as well as "Pictures Of Home". When "Smoke On the Water" starts itís quit smoking (....;-)) and fasten your seatbelts time. This remix is awesome, I canít find the proper words to describe it but it has so much improved, not only soundwise but there are soloís in this version which are just incredible. Also, the song ends in a way that somehow "belongs" to it. When listening to it you can almost see the building ablaze and coming down, down, down. You have to listen for yourself..... "Never Before" is more or less like we know it which goes for Lazy also, although I had a feeling the intro now much more resembles the way Jon plays it on the MiJ album. The original album ended with "Space Trucking" and I never liked it. I always had the urge to put on the MiJ version because it was so much more inspired, raw and kicking than the original. I do not know what they did remixing ST but the urge is gone!! Recording this must has been a great kick to do. Thereís no holding back, it comes at you like a rollercoaster and hits you doing warp 2. The end of the song comes as a surprise to the guys themselves it seems, everyone is busy doing his thing until someone realises the song is over and everything gets a bit messy. Great ending. And then thereís "When A Blind Man Cries". What can I say? This is a true gem. Just sit back, relax and make yourself comfortable. Tears in my eyes, really! The organ, guitar, voice, drums, bass, the way the instruments are handled, with so much skill and finesse, the way itís mixed, just outstanding, superb. There are really no words to describe this song and how it has improved.

I wonít go into detail as far as disc two is concerned. Itís the remastered original, as we know it. Added are "Maybe Iím A Leo" and "Lazy", this time the quad versions. Interesting to the real die-hards (arenít we all?). I have not yet been able to play the vinyl quad in order to check on differences. If there are Iím sure Stathis would have noticed...:-)

In short I can say: Get it as soon as possible. This is Machine Head at itís best. Iíll guarantee you will never, ever play your vinyl or earlier purchased CD version again. And if you still have doubts, just buy it to be able to listen to the remix of "When A Blind Man Cries".

Thank you Roger, Simon and all of you who gave your time and effort in making this 25th Anniversary edition such a joy to listen to.

MH25 will be released on September 8th as a double CD and as a limited edition 2 LP set on Purple vinyl. No plans of a single release are known to me.

Rob Wolleswinkel