Machine Head / Jesse Leach joins for incendiary single ‘Civil Unrest’

17 June 2020

The brutal protest songs ‘Stop The Bleeding’ and ‘Bulletproof’ have been released by Machine Head as a two song digital single entitled ‘Civil Unrest’, with ‘Stop The Bleeding’ featuring additional guest vocals from Killswitch Engage frontman, Jesse Leach. 

Written days after the back-to-back murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, the lyrics are the savage commentary of Robb Flynn’s feelings, after seeing these events unfold.

Speaking of his inspiration behind the tracks, Flynn told MetalTalk: “I wrote and sang the lyrics on Wednesday 27 May 2020, the day that the four officers who murdered George Floyd were (originally) not charged with anything. This day was engulfed in protests and riots across America.

“I drove into Oakland, past large demonstrations already happening and in a fury wrote down everything I was feeling after watching the horrific footage. Within hours, what I wanted to say, what I needed to say had been recorded in the song.

“I decided to sing it over a song called ‘Stop The Bleeding’, that we had recorded back in December 2018, with Jared (MacEachearn, bass guitar) and Carlos Cruz (Warbringer) on drums”.

‘Stop The Bleeding’, which you can hear below, features Flynn and Leach trading lyrical lines which vent their anger and frustration.

Flynn continued: “I had been speaking with Jesse for maybe six months about singing on the song, as it always had a little bit of a Killswitch vibe to me. Unfortunately (or fortunately), our schedules hadn’t lined up, but with the subsequent lockdown from coronavirus, we had time to make it work.

“After what happened to George Floyd, I sent him the lyrics I’d written and he replied saying he was 100% on board.

“Jesse is someone I consider to be a pioneer and in many ways, one of the men who changed the face of Metal. His contribution to this song made it extremely powerful and it’s an honour to have him be a part of it.”

Photo of Machine Head Civil Unrest cover

Jesse Leach agreed, telling us: “Being asked to be part of this song is an honour. Yes, because it’s Machine Head, but more importantly, this is a message that needs to be heard and spread.

“These issues concerning abuses of power and racism are timeless. I have written about these previously and I’ll write about them again. I think Robb really nailed this one, both lyrically and sonically.

“My hope is this song helps awaken those who hear it. Robb has been a frequent voice of the voiceless in these times, so teaming up with him is a no brainer. We need more of our Metal Community to speak out on social issues and help raise awareness, especially during these crucial times.

“Music is the soundtrack to our lives, it transcends language and culture. This is the reason we as musicians need to do our part to spark thought and discussion on these types of issues. We can make a difference through music and we can help stop the bleeding.”

MACHINE HEAD are donating a significant portion of their streaming proceeds from ‘Stop The Bleeding’ to www.grassrootslaw.org, the organisation representing George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.

Watch the track here:

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