In keeping with the darkly dramatic and semantically malleable songs on the new Machine Head album, its artwork brims with arcane symbols and a tangible sense of mischief. As Robb explains, hidden depths await those bold enough to dig deep.
“The theme of the artwork is meant to be like an alchemy book from the 1800s,” he says. “So much of that symbolism, in alchemy, Masonic stuff and in the Tarot, there’s a duality to it. There’s a face value image, but when you look deeper you realise that it means something totally different. I love that in lyrics too.”
Machine Head fans will already have inferred that Killers & Kings – the song the band released in demo form earlier this year – draws its lyrical inspiration from Tarot, the 15th century card deck cherished by occultists and mystics to this day.
“To many people, if you get the death card in the Tarot, they think you’re gonna die, but it means change,” Robb states. “And the Devil card doesn’t mean you’re going to Hell; it means bondage. If you look at the card, it’s the Devil holding two chains and there’s a naked man and a naked woman and the chains are around their necks, but if you look real close, the chains are loose – they choose to remain in bondage. So that duality immerses people in all that cool stuff that they can see in their heads.”
You can read our full world exclusive interview with Robb in the new issue of Metal Hammer.