CD Review: American Head Charge – Tango Umbrella

CD Review: American Head Charge – Tango Umbrella
Napalm Records
All Access Rating: A-

American Head Charge - Tango
Umbrella 2016
War of Art came out in 2001, generating widespread critical acclaim and establishing a beachhead for the industrial-metal juggernaut American Head Charge in a nu-metal scene just starting to unravel. Then, it all began to fall apart.

Substance abuse and vicious infighting, often actually spilling out on to the stage, stopped their dysfunctional advance dead in its tracks, however, as did the death of guitarist Bryan Ottoson. Resurrected in 2013, the Minneapolis collective toured extensively and put out an EP titled Shoot, before readying the incendiary and cinematic Tango Umbrella, due for release via Napalm Records.

A diverse, tumultuous and ominous set of screaming, elaborately conceived tracks that traffic in the raging, disciplined riffs and unsettling electronic malignancy of Ministry and the mind-blowing array of innovative vocal treatments of Faith No More, Tango Umbrella also swims in the moody, progressive currents of Tool on the expansive and menacing "Sacred" and the surging "Down and Depraved," before spiraling downward into the dark, watery vortex of "Antidote." Adrenaline shoots through the veins of a rampaging "I Will Have My Day," setting a furious, breathtaking pace, while the burbling bass and slashing guitars of a thrilling, anxiety-ridden "Prolific Catastrophe" build compelling drama and the action-packed "Suffer Elegantly" goes 100 miles per hour, until downshifting into slower, heavier grooves, like those that grip "Perfectionist."

What American Head Charge has done here with album No. 4 is engineered, if not a miraculous recovery, then at least a stunning reversal of fortune. It's been a rocky road to get to this point. Hopefully, all their troubles are behind them.
– Peter Lindblad

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