American Head Charge: Shoot EP review Jul03


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American Head Charge: Shoot EP review

Shoot coverDespite the misfortunes that American Head Charge were forced through between their debut release in 1999 and their ‘deactivation’ in 2009, they were (and still are) perceived as veritable stalwarts of the industrial scene, flying the flag with pride whilst their peers gradually petered out around them. Despite overcoming the tragic loss of guitarist Bryan Ottoson to release their DVD, Can’t Stop The Machine, the inevitable happened on August 11th 2009, and American Head Charge were no more.

No more, until now…

Following a low key tour in 2011 taking in 10 dates across the US Midwest, the band descended on Studio D Productions in Cleveland to work with Don Debiase and Dave Fortman (Slipknot, Mudvayne, Ugly Kid Joe) to record what was christened the Shoot EP, the work we see before us now. Speaking of the EP, Chad Hanks (bass) stated “We’re extremely proud of this little gem. For an EP, it was a long arduous process that spanned 5 states and 6 studios, but we persevered and succeeded”, before hinting that the follow up could be a full length record sometime in the future.  Offering the listener 4 new tracks, as well as a cover of “Rock N Roll N*gger” by Patti Smith, this is the band’s first major step back into the game after nearly 6 years, stepping forward with the classic American Head Charge line up, with the addition of Sin Quirin (Ministry, Lords Of Acid )to complete this industrial based behemoth.

Drawing on the pain and angst that built up within the bands career, Writhe signals their return in true form, launching the listener into a melee of atmospheric guitar work, guttural roars, dramatic melodies, and an overwhelming sense of the work and preparation then went into the formation of Shoot. Emotionally charged from start to finish, as a track designed to signal the triumphant return of a band who have been on hiatus, the opening moments here tick all of the boxes, progressing naturally onto the classic sounding “Set Yourself On Fire,” demonstrating that American Head Charge are indeed back, and they’re sounding good.

Continuing to push the boundaries of their sound through the chunky and groove orientated riffs of
Sugars Of Someday” before ushering in the down tuned, distorted world of “Sand,” there’s no one sound on offer here, no one ‘hook’ if you will, instead the listener is presented with an insight into the sub conscious of a band who are determined to get back to where they once were. Rounding off with their cover of Rock N Roll N*gger, there’s no doubting the dedication that the guys have put into developing their sound once again, but more over there’s no doubting that with a sound like this they’re not simply just going through the motions, American Head Charge are back.

With industrial metal still linked (by the majority) solely to the likes of Nine Inch Nails or Ministry, it’s about time someone else stepped up and pushed the boundaries of what people can expect to hear. American Head Charge haven’t just done that, they’ve taken the genre, made it their bitch, and are coming to get you next.

(Shoot can be pre-ordered HERE and can be bundled with an exclusive poster and t-shirt. All pre-orders will receive a code to digitally download the EP a week prior to release.)

Rating: 9.5/10

-Dave Nicholls