Shane & Ryan Flynn
Classic vs Classic - Machine Head's Burn My Eyes vs Sepultura's Roots
This will be an ongoing series comparing and ranking classic metal albums, pitting them against each other to see which comes out on top. We'll begin the series with two all-time legendary records, Machine Head's Burn My Eyes and Sepultura's Roots. Both albums remain vital pieces of the metal establishment to this day. Machine Head and Sepultura are largely suggested listening for any metal newcomer nowadays but at the time these records dropped both bands were mostly unknown to the mainstream. Lets take a concise dive into each record and weigh their pros and cons and see which comes out on top.
Burn My Eyes is arguably the greatest debut metal record of all time and continues to receive universal acclaim and praise to this very day. It's comparable to a mix of Pantera, early Metallica and hardcore and should be noted as one of the first "metal" records to truly make a huge splash in the hardcore scene. The infectious grooves paired with a punk mantra made for a perfect marriage of sounds that was fresh and innovative. This record added a much needed dose of raw aggression and bravado that was missing in metal at the time in the era of grunge aside from Pantera. Burn My Eyes is utterly stacked with massive crunchy riffs that rarely if ever relent. The importance of this record can't be understated, it's effects and the metal and hardcore scene reverberates still with bands like Code Orange and Harms Way sighting Machine Head as an influence, specifically this record. As far as ratings go this is easily a 5 star album that holds up better than nearly anything from this time period. Not only are the songs still harder than ever but the vibe the record gives off is still as raw as the day it was released.
Roots was a transitional album for Sepultura going from their signature death metal style to a vastly more groove-based approach which was mainly inspired by Korn. Roots has quite the odd reputation as both a classic in the perspective of many but also as the begging of the bands downfall by many die-hard fans. Both records we're discussing contain ultra-classic metal tracks Burn My Eyes with Davidian and Roots with Roots Bloody Roots. I feel Roots is a far more weird and experimental record than most fans will recall. Much of the album is packed with odd Brazilian tribal beats and bizarre noises coming seemingly out of nowhere and for that outside of the box thinking the band deserves credit. One negative that's unavoidable about Roots is it's very unnecessary hour and twelve minute run time. Much of the record is overstuffed with random interludes after tracks that just take up space and serve no real purpose. Don't mistake me though, the actual music on this album is crushing and slams as hard as nearly anything before or after it. I think it was very brave of the band to venture out and take criticism for their directional change head-on.
As far as the verdict you can probably tell from my summaries that I have to go with Machine Head's Burn My Eyes. While they're are certainly similarities between these albums as far as groove and raw aggression, Machine Head simply trims the fat much better and delivers a unrelenting piece packed with punch. Don't get me wrong, Roots deserves to be viewed as an influential, vital and classic record, however, Burn My Eyes is on a different level of classic it's just as simple as that. Despite the poor last few years Machine Head has endured, Burn My Eyes has earned them a permanent place at the table with one of the greatest metal records ever released.
Final Ratings: Machine Head - Burn My Eyes - 5 stars
Sepultura - Roots - 4 stars