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Did Machine Head Rip Off Devin Townsend?

Machine Head's Robb Flynn performs at the 2012 Revolver Golden Gods Awards show in Los Angeles.

Machine Head's Robb Flynn performs at the 2012 Revolver Golden Gods Awards show in Los Angeles. (Image credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Last Friday, Machine Head premiered their new single, "Beyond the Pale," the first taste of their new album, Catharsis. That very afternoon, however, rock fans started pointing out that the song's main riff bears a resemblance to Devin Townsend's riff from "Love?," a popular 2005 tune by Strapping Young Lad.

Before we go any further (or is it farther?), let's check out both songs:

Thoughts? Opinions?

Anyway, from the looks of things, no one seems too upset about the supposed riff infraction.

Here's what Townsend said via Twitter: "People asking me about riff similarities: I don't have an opinion really. I've written riffs my whole career that sound like something else. ...I've used whole themes from other albums, movies or soundtracks. Art is a collage of your experiences, you taking clippings and reassemble.

"Heres the best part about comparison of MH new song to 'Love'—I basically ripped off the SYL chorus from this song ['City of Love' from Yes' hit 1983 album, 90125]."

Finally, here's Machine Head guitarist Robb Flynn's reaction to Townsend's reaction (also via Twitter):

"Shout out to Devin Townsend for being so cool. The Riff Police pulled me over, I got a $300 infraction for that one!! Like Dimebag always used to tell me, 'we're all just sharing riffs man.'

"Got a lot of respect for you Devin, super talented musician, amazing producer (As the Palaces Burn production crushes all!) And while I would proudly admit that I stole a riff from you...Was just a happy accident. Riff on brother!"

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Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.