Machine Head’s “Halo” in Total Guitar Top Ten

By Jeff Owens

October 12, 2010

Machine Head's Phil Demmel onstage.

As voted by the readers of the U.K.’s Total Guitar magazine, Machine Head’s “Halo” boasts one of the top ten greatest guitar riffs of the 21st century.

Granted, the 21st century still has 90 years left to go, but let’s not split hairs; it’s an impressive accolade. The November 2010 “Monster Riffs” issue of the magazine contains what readers determined to be the 50 most memorable guitar phrases of the past decade, and “Halo”—from Machine Head’s 2007 metal masterpiece The Blackening—rang in at number eight.

The poll generated interesting results, showing greater reader preference for relatively recent material and little influence by pre-2000 classic rock. Machine Head, the sole thrash outfit on the list, shares the top 50’s top ten with U.K. alt-prog heroes Muse, who took the top spot and number five (“Plug In Baby” and “Knights of Cydonia” respectively), Velvet Revolver at number two (“Slither”), Avenged Sevenfold at numbers three and ten (“Afterlife” and “Beast and the Harlot”), Dream Theater at number four (“The Dark Eternal Night”), Queens of the Stone Age at number six (“No One Knows”), the White Stripes at number seven (“Seven Nation Army”) and the Killers at number nine (Mr. Brightside”).

“Halo” was the third single from The Blackening (after “Aesthetics of Hate” and “Now I Lay Thee Down”) and was the only song on the album credited to all four band members, including lead guitarist and Jackson signature artist Phil Demmel.