What a stink the lead singer for metal grinders Pantera Phil Anselmo caused when he went on stage recently and told his white audience not to buy black rap music. His reasoning was, as ever, foolish, but his outburst did highlight something: the extremes of rap and metal occupy much common ground. Rap supremos like Ice T and Scarface wouldn't be shifting so many millions without the help of people who are first and foremost rock, perhaps Pantera, fans. The favourite meeting place for the two genres is alienation from mainstream society - they're both obsessed with it. In a Scarface record, blood aplenty is spilled in gang warfare. In Oakland, California, Machine Head's debut album, Burn My Eyes (Roadrunner), there's the guns in "Davidian" ("Let freedom ring with a shotgun blast!"), the drug casualties and all manner of expletive-peppered rages against the media, the church, the government and anybody else who steps in their way. "I gotta vent or else I blow inside," vocalist Robb Flynn howls in "A Thousand Lies". And boy, does this music sell. Their independent label probably couldn't believe their luck when Machine Head (right), with no gigs, no hype, and no daytime radio play behind them, zoomed smoothly into the British top 30 album chart last autumn. They eventually made it here last autumn and rocked stupendously.
They swore a lot, flexed many a tattooed muscle, made urban Armageddon seem very sexy and rock'n'roll indeed. Rebellion, whatever the artist's colour, will definitely never go out of fashion.
Machine Head, 31 May, Brixton Academy, SW9 (0171-924 9999)