With the release of the band's third album, 1999's The Burning Red, Nu Metal elements were also added, including semi-rapped vocals and guitar licks that imitated turntable scratching. The band's fans accused Machine Head of "selling out"; but Machine Head countered that they weren't trying to sound like other bands, just that they wanted to sound different.
After guitarist Ahrue Luster (responsible for the band's Nu Metal influence) left the band due to creative differences, Machine Head initially decided to begin writing as a three-piece band, but temporary guitarist Phil Demmel (formerly of Vio-lence) became a permanent member of the band. The band's style has since evolved into a fusion of melodic elements with groove and thrash now dominating the band's style again.
On 22 February 2013, long-time bassist Adam Duce was fired from the band. His departure makes Rob Flynn the sole remaining original member of the band. He was replaced by former Sanctity frontman Jared MacEachern.
Machine Head's eighth studio album,Bloodstone & Diamonds, was released on November 7th 2014 to critical acclaim and debuted at #21 on the Billboard charts, the band's highest chart position to date. It was also their first album not to be on Roadrunner Records, instead being on Nuclear Blast which they are currently signed to as of now.
The band's ninth studio album, Catharsis, was released on January 26th, 2018. In late 2018, Machine Head embarked on a "farewell tour" of their current lineup. Following the tour, longtime members Phil Demmel and Dave McClain parted ways with the band.
- Robb Flynn - lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1992present)
- Jared MacEachern - bass, backing vocals (2013-present)
- Adam Duce - bass, backing vocals (19922013)
- Logan Mader - lead guitar (19921998)
- Ahrue Luster - lead guitar (19982002) (now in Ill Nino)
- Tony Costanza - drums (19921994)
- Chris Kontos - drums (19941995)
- Walter Ryan - drums (1995)
- Dave McClain - drums (19952018)
- Phil Demmel - lead guitar, backing vocals (20022018)
Machine Head provides examples of the following tropes:
- Bald of Awesome: The band's drummer Dave McClain.
- Ill Boy: Phil Demmel suffers from Cardiogenic Syncope which caused him to faint or lose consciousness couple times in concert.
- Insult Backfire: About a month before the release of Catharsis, the band's Facebook page put up a picture of a scathing review of it and took a moment to insult the reviewer. The comment section didn't agree with the band.
- Long Runner Lineup: Type 2. The band's 2002-2013 lineup consisting of Robb Flynn, Adam Duce, Dave McClain, and Phil Demmel. This lineup was featured on Through the Ashes of Empires, The Blackening, and Unto the Locust.
- Took a Level in Badass: In order to top The Blackening, the entire band took additional lessons in their instrument of choice prior to recording Unto the Locust , and holy hell does it show.
- Older Than He Looks: Robb has always looked younger than he was. On this single cover◊, he is the blonde guy with the goatee. He was 31. This is him last year at 43.◊, looking to be around his late 20s. He aged quite a bit in the last year-and-a-half, but still does not look 44, but around his 30s. Robb is now 50 years old but looks like he's in his mid 40s.◊
- Putting the Band Back Together: Robb managed to get most of the Burn My Eyes lineup (minus Adam Duce, who, for obvious reasons, was not an option) together on a live basis for a set of 25th anniversary shows.
- Teen Genius: Robb was apparently known for his skill as a guitarist while he was still in high school; Craig Locicero of Forbidden (which Robb was a member of when they were still known as Forbidden Evil) recounted how Robb was able to play the entirety of Electric Sun's "Earthquake" when he was just a teenager.
- We Used to Be Friends: Adam Duce, Dave McClain, and Phil Demmel. Duce and Flynn gradually fell out over the years before things finally decayed completely on the touring cycle for Unto the Locust, which got him fired in 2013 and wound up getting settled in the courts. McClain and Demmel, meanwhile, grew tired of Flynn's increasingly autocratic nature (with Demmel even commenting that by the end of their run, it was basically his solo band with the other three as his backing band) over the course of the 2010s, and by the end of the touring cycle for Bloodstone & Diamonds, their relationship with him was strictly business. After Catharsis (which both of them, especially Demmel, absolutely hated and regretted having their names on), they finally had enough and ducked out for good.
- Take That!: "Aesthetics of Hate" from The Blackening is one directed at an article of the same name that praised the murder of Dimebag Darrell.
- The Family That Slays Together: "The Night Of Long Knives" from Bloodstone & Diamonds is about the Manson family.
- We Used to Be Friends: "Game Over" from Bloodstone & Diamonds is about a friendship destroyed and the singer retrospectively renouncing the cynicism he'd been subjected to over the years.
- Rumor is that the target is former bassist Adam Duce, who Robb fired and was later sued by.
- Cover Version: Of "Message in a Bottle", "Hole in the Sky", "Creeping Death", "Battery", "Hallowed Be Thy Name", "Fucking Hostile", "The Sentinel", and "Witch Hunt". Amazingly enough, they've also covered Negative Creep.
- Epic Rocking: They had their moments early on, but since The Blackening it became their primary modus operandi.
- Metal Scream: Type 1
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Generally about an 8. With songs like Violate and Down to None falling into the 7 category and Descend the Shades Of Night being a little hard to pin down on this scale (the softer sections are about a 2, but the harder sections are 7-8). A couple songs, such as "Blood for Blood" and the first half of "Struck a Nerve," go up to a 9.
- Sail Into the Black from Bloodstone & Diamonds is the most variant Machine Head song yet, with the first half being a solid 2 with smoke-laden lyrics, piano and foreboding guitar. The second half kicks in and sends things all the way to 7 with the third (and fourth) verse, then simmering down to 5 with the chorus, instrumental and finale.
- New Sound Album: Burn My Eyes and The More Things Change were essentially straightforward Groove Metal, with some songs having more of a Thrash Metal influence, though The More Things Change was where they started to include Nu Metal elements. The Burning Red and Supercharger added more elements of Nu Metal, including rapped vocals on some songs. Through the Ashes of Empires was a return to Groove Metal with a side of melodic metalcore, a sound which the band has mostly stuck with since, but focusing more heavily on Thrash Metal with some more progressive elements on The Blackening and Unto the Locust. Catharsis was a return to their nu era stylistically.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: The first part of "I Am Hell".
- "Reason You Suck" Speech: The song "Left Unfinished" is essentially one big "Fuck you" to Rob Flynn's abusive birth parents (he was rescued from them and placed into a foster home when he was five years old).
- Up to Eleven: From Unto the Locust could be this to The Blackening.