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[Off The Record]
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American Head Charge

After meeting in rehab, American Head Charge principals Martin Cock (vocals) and Chad Hanks (bass) put this seven-piece Minneapolis metal band together. On their ambitious debut, the group hook up with producer Rick Rubin and forge a demented, self-lacerating take on Fear Factory–style industrial metal. They’ve learned well from their ’80s Midwestern forerunners (Ministry et al.): their extensive sonic palette includes everything from moody piano interludes to grating noise samples. They’re not above a radio-ready Korn riff or two, but they also take honorable stabs at both straight-ahead rock ("Seamless") and abrasive punk ("Americunt Evolving into Useless Psychic Garbage"). On the disc’s raging opener, "A Violent Reaction," Cock screams his way to the edge of the commercial-rock envelope à la Slipknot. Elsewhere, he shows enough of a fondness for doom-and-gloom melody to suggest that he, like most self-disrespecting headbangers, hopped the alterna-rock bandwagon when the metal well dried up in the early ’90s. But that wasn’t always a bad thing, as American Head Charge prove with their occasionally derivative yet undeniably intense new-metal hybrid.

(American Head Charge open for Slayer this Wednesday, November 14, at Avalon. Call 617-262-2424.)


Issue Date: November 8 - 15, 2001

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