American Heritage, there’s a name dripping with irony and disgust. “Sedentary” – how’s that for a pithy dismissal of modern man? This is Chicago’s American Heritage‘s first release since 2006’s “Millenarian”, a long in coming. Reading their website it seems the intervening years have been full of hardships and struggles. It hasn’t left them in a very positive frame of mind.
American Heritage play an unusual mix of straight ahead thrash, doom and math rock. It’s like there is a struggle between their primal rage and their intelligence as musicians as to how they express themselves. On tracks like ‘Fetal Attraction’ old school thrash fury rules.
Vocalist Adamn Norden (sic) sounds like Testament‘s Chuck Billy in that he has a malicious, crowing quality to his voice, like he’s delighted to be bringing you bad news. On ‘Kiddie Pool of Baby Blood’ and the fantastically deranged ‘Morbid Angle’ (I’m not making these up) American Heritage totally attack from the gut and actually recall Venom in their dirty abandon.
‘Chaotic Obliteration’ and closer ‘ WWDHD’ best showcase American Heritage‘s more considered material. ‘Chaotic Obliteration’ reminds me of the scene in The Matrix where Keanu Reeves stands before a massive array of weapons disappearing into the horizon, except AH are doing it with riffs. ‘ WWDHD’ is where AH slow down, stretch out and show their pedigree. It’s heavy as fuck but with a lightness of touch and lack of OTT gurning, angst that a lot of metal bands display when trying to get serious.
‘Vessels/Vassals’ is perhaps the perfect amalgamating of American Heritage‘s talents. Again more riffs and time changes than you can count, ire filled lyrics and Mike Duffy‘s punishing drums underpinning it all. It sounds like a different band from earlier tracks but it won’t stop you wanting to hear it all again.
This is a real grower of an album, and I’m looking forward to playing it repeatedly in the future.