February 06, 2019

American Head Charge - The Feeding (2005)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Alternative Metal
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© 2005 DRT Entertainment
Reviewed By Justin Donnelly for The Metal Forge.com
If there were a term that paraphrase the last four years of Minneapolis act American Head Charge's existence best it would be 'In Hell'. For the nu-metal/industrial act, the future looked bright with the release of their sophomore effort The War Of Art in 2001 (Released through Rick Rubin's American Recordings, and the follow up to 1998's independently released Trepanation). The album was an overwhelming success, and with tours with Ozzfest and The Pledge Of Allegiance (With Slipknot, System Of A Down and Rammstein), the band soon amassed quite a following. However, things slowly turned sour. First there was the departure of guitarist Wayne Kile, followed by fellow guitarist David Rogers, and finally keyboardist Aaron Zilch. Then the band fell foul of Rick Rubin's reluctance to work in a producer's capacity with the new songs (The album, then titled Just For The Record was due late in 2003), which eventually led to a split (With the label and producer), and the eventual signing with Nitrus Records. But the real blow came when after finishing The Feeding, guitarist Bryan Ottoson died of an overdose of prescription medication in April this year.
So with all the drama that has unfolded before the band over the last few years, just how does The Feeding manage to stack up against the highly acclaimed The War Of Art? Did producer Greg Fidelman (Who engineered the band's last effort) manage to extract the best out of the six-piece act? Well if the first single/opening track Loyalty is anything to go by, American Head Charge may just manage to scrape by. The scathing sub-industrial (Nine Inch Nails/Marilyn Manson)/nu-metal (Mushroomhead/Dry Kill Logic) soundtrack showcases the growing versatility of vocalist Martin Cock (Also known as Cameron Heacock), while maintaining a melodic balance for listeners to latch onto. Pledge Allegiance doesn't so much as let up an inch as the anger is intensified with a thick nu-metal groove, but Dirty and Ridicule soon show the limitation of the band in regards to broadening their musical palette. Relying on a mish-mash of old Faith No More ideas (Especially in the track Downstream later in the album) mixed with Deftones like atmospherics, American Head Charge fail to lock into anything cohesive when applying the two in contrast with each other.
Things seem to go from bad to worse with the riff in Take What I've Taken borrowed note for note from Judas Priest's A Touch Of Evil (1990's Painkiller), while the attempt at straight melody, such as in the brooding ballad of sorts Walk Away, still falls short of full formed ideas. But while the quality does dip in places, things pick up with the simplistic aggressive drive of Leave Me Alone, Cowards (With it's slight Mick Mars sounding introductory guitar solo) and Erratic, while the slower paced Fiend and the slow building Misery Loves Co./Nine Inch Nails sounding To Be Me work where the other attempts at dramatics failed dismally
American Head Charge are still very much part of the slow disappearing trend that is nu-metal, but at least it's a move forward from The War Of Art (Even if it does posses a couple of fillers in amongst the solid numbers). If there's one thing that's evident after listening to The Feeding, that is that American Head Charge have managed to overcome the odds and defy those who claimed that the band were all said and done. And in the eyes of hardcore followers, that's a triumph in itself.

tags: american head charge, the feeding charge, 2005, flac,