Butoh dance is literally and figuratively the dance of death and pain.
Born from Hiroshima/Nagasaki post-World-War-II-era Japan, the dance was created around the radioactive wasteland left behind in the wake of the nuclear bomb being dropped. Dancers would paint themselves in ash and take on a gaunt, deathly look. Facial expressions are agonizing and the body language is often deformed and contorted, expressing the pain and suffering that was a direct result of atomic warfare.
Frontman Robb Flynn explains, “‘Catharsis’ was a tricky concept to translate to a visual. How do you express somebody’s catharsis? Frasier, the director, brought up the Butoh dance concept and it tied in so well into the idea of what catharsis could be. And when the Butoh dancers began performing for the video, we were blown away. Their expressions were so pained, almost horrifying, and yet very sad; it was extremely moving.”
The other side of Machine Head’s “Catharsis” video recounts the experiences of mental asylum patients. Oftentimes, in the ’50s and ’60s, people went through traumatic and regrettable experiences, and those vivid photos still linger today.
Flynn continues, “On a personal level, I related to this aspect. My uncle Jimmy lived with us for years while growing up. He had experienced some pretty severe drug testing when he was younger and didn’t come out of it very well. For the rest of his life, he would do things like not eat for seven days straight and talk to Jesus all day. It was a trip to grow up with that at home. So, we took these disparate elements and turned them into a very cinematic and psychedelic visual to express that.”
Furthermore, Flynn said, “We love making videos now. There used to be a bunch of rules and around what you could and couldn’t do in a music video. Most of it was a boring performance, with us ‘pretending’ to play and sing the song. Now, it’s like making a crazy, whacked-out movie. You can get weird and strange and have a blast. We are super proud of how well this video tuned out!”
The band also released a “making of” feature from the video shoot, taking fans inside the creative process. The behind-the-scenes footage is viewable here.
Catharsis is available for pre-order here.
The band also announced the first dates of its world tour in support of Catharsis. All confirmed dates are below.
Watch the live version of “Now We Die” here. The song appears on the CD/DVD Digipak edition of Catharsis, which contains a full, 21-song live concert filmed at The Regency Ballroom in San Francisco in 2015.
Listen to the album track “Beyond the Pale.” Enter the “Beyond The Pale” fan music video contest here.
CATHARSIS TRACK LISTING:
3. Beyond the Pale
4. California Bleeding
5. Triple Beam
8. Hope Begets Hope
9. Screaming At the Sun
10. Behind a Mask
11. Heavy Lies the Crown
13. Grind You Down
14. Razorblade Smile
Tour dates, tickets, and VIP packages are available here.
MACHINE HEAD ON TOUR:
1/25 — Phoenix, AZ — Nile Theater
1/27 — Albuquerque, NM — Sunshine Theater
1/29 — San Antonio, TX — Aztec Theater
1/30 — Dallas, TX — Gas Monkey Live!
1/31 — Houston,TX — HOB
2/2 — Birmingham, AL — Saturn
2/3 —Pensacola, FL — Vinyl MH
2/5 — Orlando, FL — Plaza Live
2/6 — Atlanta, GA — Centerstage
2/8 — Philadelphia, PA — Theatre of Living Arts
2/9 — New York, NY — Playstation
2/10 — Boston, MA — Paradise Rock Club
2/11 — Montreal, QC — Club Soda
2/13 — Toronto, ON — Danforth MH
2/14 — Buffalo, NY — Town Ballroom
2/15 — Pittsburgh, PA — Stage AE
2/16 — Cleveland, OH — Agora
2/17 — Detroit, MI — Majestic
2/20 — Des Moines, IA — Woolys
2/21 — Madison, WI — Majestic
2/22 — Minneapolis, MN — First Avenue
2/23 — Chicago, IL — Concord MH
2/24 — Saint Louis, MO — Pops
2/27 — Denver, CO — Summit MH
3/1 — Las Vegas, NV — HOB
3/2 — Los Angeles, CA — Fonda
3/3 — Oakland, CA — The Fox Theater
3/5 — Portland, OR — Roseland
3/6 — Vancouver, BC — Commodore
3/7 — Seattle, WA — Showbox Market
ABOUT MACHINE HEAD:
Machine Head wrapped up the touring cycle for their first Nuclear Blast Entertainment album Bloodstone & Diamonds in March 2016 with a whopping 283 concerts on five different continents around the world. Around 250 of those shows were performed as “An Evening With Machine Head,” with no support bands and performances often lasting two-and-a-half to three hours in duration, much to their fans (called “Head Cases”) delight.
Three tours of the United States (with many dates sold out in advance), three tours of The UK/Europe, including multiple dates in Russia and Greece, shows in Mexico and South America, a completely sold out run of nine Australian/New Zealand shows, sold out dates in Japan, plus their first ever plays in Taiwan and Thailand, and all without any festival performances, which the band publicly announced they would stop performing at in 2014.
Bloodstone & Diamonds debuted at #21 on the U.S. Billboard charts and has gone on to sell 285,000 copies worldwide.
The band’s latest track “Is There Anybody Out There?,” released as a stand-alone, digital-only, non-album release, became their #2 most streamed song ever on Spotify, with 9 million streams in less than a year. It cracked the Top 40 on the Active Rock chart in the United States. It marks the first time for any Nuclear Blast artist to enter what is widely considered to be the “official rock chart” for the United States and is significant considering there was no physical track sent to retail.