Bay Area metal mainstays, Machine Head have unveiled a 2-track digital single called Civil Unrest. The new release includes two protest anthems—the A-side “Stop The Bleeding” and B-side “Bulletproof,” the latter of which features guest vocals from Killswitch Engage vocalist Jesse Leach. Written mere days after the murders of both George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, Machine Head gets deep into socio-political lyrical content with these two new anthems, both of which call for change.
Frontman Robb Flynn commented on the new tracks’ inspiration, stating, “I wrote and sang the lyrics on Wednesday May 27th, 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.”
A Mike Sloat-directed and edited performance video can be seen below.
Flynn continues, “I had been speaking with Jesse for maybe 6 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 honor to have him be a part of it.”
Jesse Leach mirrors the sentiment, stating, “Being asked to be part of this song is an honor. 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 will donate a large portion of Stop The Bleeding streaming proceeds to Grass Roots Law, the organization representing George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.
Artwork for “Civil Unrest” by Machine Head