American Head Charge – Tango Umbrella

AHC_RingMasterReview

Like many others we are sure, there was a surge of excited anticipation when the new American Head Charge album was announced. It was the first since 2005 full-length The Feeding and the band disbanding two years later. Their return after six years subsequently brought the excellent Shoot EP, a release bristling with hints of a new bigger and even bolder adventure to the AHC sound. Now those clues are realised and reinforced with Tango Umbrella; a maelstrom of prime AHC moments, new imaginative adventures, and exploits seemingly inspired by some of their companions in the nu-metal/melodic metal scene first time around. The result is a riveting and galvanic tempest of sound and imagination which for the main hits the spot dead centre.

From the first breath of their first album for Napalm Records, AHC go straight for the senses and imagination with opener Let All The World Believe. Its entrance is calm and coaxing, electronic pulses and beats gathering within an increasingly sinister ambience before the doors burst open and predatory riffs and rhythms eagerly crowd and trespass ears. It is a forcibly enticing start only blossoming again as the band unleashes inventive industrial metal rabidity. The keys of Justin Fowler sizzle and incite with devilish enterprise whilst the intrusive beats of Chris Emery descend with uncompromising intent. All the while Cameron Heacock vocally prowls like an apocalyptic ringmaster; his expression and words scathing and confrontational and just as alluring as the thick mesh of sound around him. With touches of Fear Factory and Static X to it, the track is a glorious start; an anthemic death dance bursting with the dramatic sonic devilment of guitarists Karma Cheema and Ted Hallows.

Drowning Under Everything quickly follows with another industrial sculpted invitation, its initial clang soon immersed in a robust tide of riffs and grooves. The growling bass of Chad Hanks quickly steals a chunk of the attention, backed by the matching potent bait of guitars and vocal laced with a Manson-esque hue soon evolving into a richer melodic flame bred with the familiar AHC dexterity and invention. It too is a swiftly shifting and changing passage within the tantalising track, a moment soon becoming entangled with all the other textures in a muggy creative maze. Inescapably the track ignites ears and again an already awoken appetite before the more thunderous assault of Perfectionist flares up to place its virulent grip on attention too. Atmospherically suggestive and vocally provocative, the song merges grunge and nu-metal traits and flavours to infectious effect as essences of Korn, Mudvayne, and Alice In Chains spice its enthralling proposal. Epitomising the whole album though, for all spices and influences openly shown, the track is unmistakably American Head Charge through and through.

art_RingMasterReviewThe latter of those three references nudges thoughts again as the thick mesmeric and emotive embrace of Sacred takes over, the track crawling seductively over the senses as vocals, guitars, and keys charm and tantalise ears. With the bass grumbling and beats swinging in tandem, the track beguiles from its first second, before being followed and overshadowed by the quite irresistible I Will Have My Day, a fiercely rousing and relentless White Zombie incitement with again great AIC sounding harmonies and melodic caresses.

The emotion loaded A King Among Men comes next; the ballad a requiem of piano, voice, and harmonies likely inspired by the loss of previous band guitarist Bryan Ottoson in 2005 and more recently friends like Wayne Static but equally a sentiment for anyone losing someone. It is a potent piece leaving a lingering touch much like, but in whole different way, Suffer Elegantly. The call of the wild springs a charging, invasive surge of riffs and grooves driven by hellacious rhythms. There is no escaping a Ministry incited dynamic to the track or its savagely tenacious energy and sound but again AHC twist it into their own ravenous ideation and aggressive imagination. Many major favourites emerge from within Tango Umbrella, this right there on the frontline.

The twisting rapacious tone and grooves of Antidote enslaves ears and thoughts next, its flirtatious melodies and off-kilter slithers of sound rich pickings for the imagination whilst the Down like hostility which seeps from the track’s uncaging of raw intensity has the spirit as inflamed as the rest of the song has ears gripped. Increasingly more impressive and addictive with every listen, the song entices and snarls like a beast in heat much as the Trent Reznor like Prolific Catastrophe which sidles in with a devilish glint in its creative eye and a rousing fire in its sonic belly.

Completing the album is firstly the musically and lyrically antagonistic Down And Depraved, a grouchy and mercurial blaze of voice and sound, and finally the atmospherically cast When The Time Is Never Right. It is another which needed time to convince as heartily as previous tracks within Tango Umbrella but persistently has satisfaction and involvement fully engaged whilst bringing the album to a magnetic end.

It is fair to say that Tango Umbrella lives up to the promise of the band’s last EP and more. It is like a kaleidoscope of their highlights to date and inspirations picked up along the way, in turn almost like trip through the listener’s own nu/industrial metal inspired soundtrack but most of all, the album is one thoroughly thrilling, inventively fresh and varied slab of American Head Charge imagination re-establishing the sextet as one of our prize assets.

Tango Umbrella is released via Napalm Records on March 25th through most online stores.

http://www.headcharge.com/    https://www.facebook.com/AmericanHeadCharge   https://twitter.com/AHC_Official

Remaining dates on the AHC/Mushroomhead UK tour

26.03.16 UK – Bristol / The Marble Factory

27.03.16 UK – Plymouth / The Hub

29.03.16 UK – Cardiff / The Globe

30.03.16 UK – London / Electric Ballroom

31.03.16 UK – Brighton / Concorde 2

01.04.16 UK – Southampton / Engine Rooms

02.04.16 UK – Norwich / Waterfront

03.04.16 UK – Reading / Sub89

Pete RingMaster 24/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Blood Ceremony – Lord Of Misrule

pic_Ester Segarra

pic_Ester Segarra

Dancing on the imagination like a village maiden in the throes of a pagan celebration, the new album from Canadian quartet Blood Ceremony is a bewitching and evocative adventure to get wrapped up in. It is called Lord Of Misrule; its title inspired by “a tradition that dates back to Late Antiquity, the Lord Of Misrule or “Abbot Of Unreason” was the doomed figure elected to preside over the Feast Of Fools, an annual Saturnalian bacchanalia in which masters became servants and servants masters, while drunken revelry and strange entertainments pervaded Britain and parts of mainland Europe for 30 days. At the end of the month’s festivities, the Lord Of Misrule’s throat was cut in sacrifice to Saturn.

Its body is a collection of highly provocative and melodically fiery encounters; aural rites and mystical endeavours awash with psychedelic/ acid-folk imagination amidst doom and progressive rock scented landscapes. Exploring the secret corners and depths of rural villages and pagan practices, it is an encounter playing like a sonic Wicker Man of dark festivities from across the decades in tradition and sound.

Recorded to analogue tape with producer Liam Watson, Lord Of Misrule opens on The Devil’s Widow, a song slipping into view upon an inviting guitar spun melody. Its tantalising lure is soon joined by crisp percussion and the magnetic caress of keys, then in turn by the throbbing resonance of bass. It is a masterful beckoning leading into a feistier stroll with vocalist/flautist/organist Alia O’Brien at the helm in voice and melodic craft. The wiry tendrils of Sean Kennedy’s guitar adds fire to the proposal, its rawer touch backed by the dark tones of Lucas Gadke’s bass and the swinging beats of Michael Carrillo. Recently Kennedy called Lord Of Misrulea very English album”, and straight away it is easy to hear what he means as particular British folk hues spice the vivacious energy and melodies sweeping through ears on the wind of the O’Brien’s  flutist craft.

album cover_RingMasterReviewLoreley is next to entice and please ears; electronic pulsing early attraction alongside O’Brien’s ever potent vocal presence and style before a catchy rhythmic swing sparks a livelier saunter to the song. Perpetually, Blood Ceremony fuses sixties, seventies, and other decades of rock ‘n’ roll into their music, the first pair the seeds to the refreshing colour and blues scented shade of this track’s gentle but pungent creative drama.

A fiery air to flaming textures shape the following exploits of The Rogue’s Lot, its darker shadows equipped with sinister threat and hidden dangers as O’Brien and the melodic enterprise of guitars embrace lighter infectious essences in their captivating persuasion. Twisting and turning in energy and dramatic flavours, the track is glorious; a rousing slice of rock ‘n’ roll easy to free a lively spirit and lustful appetite for, much as with the album’s title track which smoulders and tempts next. With raw blues touches colluding with the almost Horslips meets Jethro Tull like folk enchantment which shines within the track’s dark landscape and tale, ears and thoughts are quickly bound up in a theatre of sound and suggestiveness.

An earthy character is shown by Half Moon Street straight after; its air carrying a dirty tone around a less joyfully tempered nature, though hooks and melodies again have a shine to their invitation. With the flute like rays of sun skipping across the darker strains of endeavour, band and song commands full attention before The Weird Of Finistere slips in with an evocative climate of sound and voice becoming catchier and more, if gently, tenacious with every passing minute without ever breaking from its reserved sway.

The wonderful sixties pop inspired Flower Phantoms takes over and quickly steals ears and the spotlight. Carrying a Crystals meets The Ronnettes glow to its contagious pop enterprise, the song flirts and seduces with inescapable success, its warm magnetic revelry aligned to flames of raw guitar and sinew brought beats, and quite delicious.

The album closes with the blues rock fuelled Old Fires and lastly by Things Present, Things Past; two tracks which individually provide resourceful and unpredictable drama within the recognisable Blood Ceremony invention. The first is another spirit arousing incitement whilst its successor is an acoustic hug which simply serenades body and soul for an enthralling end to another highly flavoursome offering from the Toronto foursome.

There is no apparent blood shed at the end of Lord Of Misrule as the tradition dictates but for stirring creative and tenacious fun under the glare of a full moon or dusk shaded sun, the album more than fits the bill whilst increasingly thrilling.

Lord Of Misrule is released March 25th via Rise Above Records.

Upcoming Live Dates:

April

15 – Paris, France – Backstage by The Mill

16 – Tilburg, Netherlands – Roadburn Festival

17 – Hamburg, Germany – Rock Café St. Pauli

18 – Berlin, Germany – Privatclub

19 – Vienna, Austria – The Chelsea

20 – Munich, Germany – Backstage Club

21 – Madonna Dell’alberto, Italy – Bronson

22 – Milan, Italy – Legend

23 – Olton, Switzerland – Coq D’or

24 – Nurnberg, Germany – Hirsch

25 – Frankfurt, Germany – Nachtleben

26 – Cologne, Germany – MTC

28 – Manchester, UK – The Deaf Institute

29 – Glasgow, UK – Audio

30 – Birmingham, UK – The Rainbow

https://www.facebook.com/bloodceremonyrock

Pete RingMaster 24/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/