American Head Charge: Shoot

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American Head Charge: Shoot
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American Head Charge: Shoot
Alternative Rock, Groove Metal, Industrial
Self-release
July 23rd, 2013
Release length: 23:55
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Back in 2009, American Head Charge announced through their Myspace page that they had basically broken up. However, in the years to come, hints and a new Facebook account showed the band was slowly coming back together. Here we are in 2013, and the band’s first release in years, Shoot, is upon us. This recording features four brand new compositions, and a cover of the hit Patti Smith single, “Rock ‘N’ Roll Nigger.” But, has all this time solidified the group more, or is this something a little less than a solid reunion?

Right away, the groups more Alternative influenced roots show through on “Writhe,” a slower paced offering with clean singing and a random latter burst of harsher vocal energy. The song tackles a simpler performance that grows richer the deeper you get, though some of the weakest elements stand out the most due to its reliance on creating a dark and creepy atmosphere. At first, it sounds like a simple throw away track that doesn’t end up going anywhere, but the further you get, the more depth the song has that you grow to enjoy despite never really reaching a climax that offers you closure. This is the tone for much of the EP as well. “Set Yourself on Fire,” which seems to pick up where “Writhe” left off a bit, allows a thick bass driven war torn environment to weave a rather dismal experience with an uncompromising groove. Not too long into it, the music returns to “Writhe” for a spell, then comes back around to that catchy rhythm with shouting vocals. “Sand” is, for lack of a better term, a very abrasive trudging track that seems to blend together some Doom Metal speeds and blunt riffs with additional Industrial effects in the background. Sadly the odd altered clean vocal performance, a staple to the band’s sound, does become a bit rough to sit through. It does end things with a decent climax though, making the journey worth it.

“Sugars of Someday,” however, breaks that dark and creepy mold entirely. While some riffs do carry an eccentic touch, the chorus is truly upbeat and laced with Alternative Rock hooks that one might compare to Smashing Pumpkins. There is a heavier touch towards the conclusion, but it doesn’t really end up doing much for the song. This is also one of the few tracks that really seem to go somewhere and conclude with any kind of major payoff, much like the excellent cover of “Rock ‘N’ Roll Nigger,” which already had a solid structure to begin with. The louder bass sounds fantastic here, and the harsher vocals work to keep the energy of the performance alive. Even the shouting vocals about half way in sound great, and it does stick with much of the general atmosphere the band is going for with Shoot overall.

While Shoot is an interesting EP that is far more dismal than is really has any right to be, it also just doesn’t really seem to go anywhere half the time. There is a sense of Avant-Garde musicianship throughout the release, helping to build up the creepy and often eccentric atmospheres, which definitely stands as an achievement for this release, as well as the band. Some of the lighter elements of this release, such as during “Writhe” and the entire generic sound of “Sugars of Someday,” do disrupt the grim aural landscapes slowly being built, which is a huge letdown. Right now, Shoot seems more like a blueprint of what’s to come, exploring various musical options to see what works and what doesn’t. But, for fans of American Head Charge, there’s no denying that Shoot is a strong sign of a band that will only continue to regain their strength the longer they exist and rebuild, so it’s worth taking the time to check out what seems to be an intended offering for future recordings.

01. Writhe – 4:53
02. Set Yourself on Fire – 5:19
03. Sugars of Someday – 3:50
04. Sand – 5:41
05. Rock ‘n’ Roll Nigger (Patti Smith cover) – 4:11
Initial Pressing Score: 7/10

American Head Charge (band)
American Head Charge

Digital review copy of this release provided by Super Fecta.