My first exposure to American Head Charge came way back in 2001. They were among the opening acts for a Spineshank concert. Now, my memories are a bit fuzzy, but I remember there being a lot of band members, and they put on a great show – lots of aggressive music with a good style.
I picked up their CD on the way out, and discovered that it was a great listen. Then they fell of the map, now they are making a comeback.
I was looking forward to giving “The Feeding” a listen. Would it be up to the level of the first, or would it sink like a stone? Well, while listening to it, something dawned on me, it didn’t even sound like the same band! The sound which made them stand out was gone, in it’s place is a more generic, mediocre sound. There are a few moments reminiscent of the AHC of old, but they were few. I couldn’t believe that their sound could change so drastically.
I did some research, first checking the member list on the two albums, first thing I noticed was that the seven-piece band of the first album is now a six-piece. The next thing I noticed is that there were only two names that appear on both lists. This is essentially a new band, and being such, there is a whole sound.
The more I listen to it, the more I wonder what happened. There have definitely been some internal changes. There are moments here to like, but nothing lives up to tracks like “Just So You Know,” and “Effigy 23.” The first album was over an hour in length, and that barely contained the potential that they displayed.
The new album isn’t a complete waste, there are a few tracks that are pretty good. One of them being “Dirty,” which starts off promising enough. What got me was the repetition of the word dirty, it is a heavy song to be sure. Another is “Erratic,” which almost attains the potential of their first album. Also “Ridicule” is a pretty heavy track.
Bottomline. While not a complete throwaway, I was sorely disappointed after what had come before. At least the internal strife did not completely drive them out of the business. That leaves an opening for a better album down the line. My recommendation would be to skip this album and go for their debut, or check out some Killswitch Engage.
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