Bay Area metal stalwarts Machine Head have released an incendiary new track, “Stop the Bleeding,” which features guest vocals from Killswitch Engage and The Weapon frontman Jesse Leach. The fierce protest anthem was written days after the back-to-back killings of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. Listen to the song below along with its gritty performance video that was directed and edited by Mike Sloat, shot on location on the streets of Oakland, California, with Leach’s part filmed in Kingston, New York with David Brodsky.
Vocalist-guitarist Robb Flynn discussed the inspiration behind the release saying, “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.”
For his collaboration with political punk Leach, 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 percent 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.”
For his part, spitting anger at current events, Leach dovetails Flynn’s sentiment, saying, “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,” Leach explains. “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.”
“Stop the Bleeding” comes from the thrashers’ two-song digital single Civil Unrest which includes the B-side “Bulletproof.” You can pick up the tracks here. In addition, according to a press release, Machine Head are donating “a significant portion of their streaming proceeds” to Grassroots Law Project, an organization representing George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.