American Heritage - Through the Age of Quarrel and Into the Era of Putting Up With It
When you hear "instrumental rock" and "Chicago" in the same sentence, what
comes to mind? Tortoise? Euphone? Well, American Heritage can be described
by those two phrases, but leave your expectations at the door -- this isn't
anything 30-something hipsters will probably be embracing and writing about
in Time anytime soon (although they certainly should be!)
Although American Heritage share characteristics with their instrumental
brethern, they decide to take a path little seen. Rather than writing slow,
meandering songs, American Heritage writes songs that are fast, heavy,
complex, spazzy, and repetitious. And although this is their first domestic
release, they've been doing it for awhile, releasing a 12" and a CD on the
British label The Rosewood Union.
This being American Heritage's third album is obvious in that it is much
improved over their initial releases. The band has always had a flooring sort
of presence live, but their recorded output never really hit me as hard. But
on this new album, the songs are actually beginning to stick with me, and I
know if I owned a guitar I'd be trying to follow their crazy guitar parts --
and failing miserably.
The magic of American Heritage is that for only three people, they manage to
create one hell of a lot of noise. My Discman can't even play this CD without
having a high level of distortion. If you see them live, you'd better not forget
your earplugs, or you're going to be deaf the next day. "Through the Age of
Quarrel..." has finally managed to capture American Heritage's crazy and spastic
live show and put it onto a portable piece of plastic, so you can headbang anywhere
from the privacy of your home, to your car, to your office. Fans of technical
metal/hardcore like Dillinger Escape Plan and Drowningman should do themselves a
favor and pick this record up, because even without vocals of any sort, it rocks as
hard -- if not harder -- than anything those bands have put out lately.
Addendum: After finishing this review, my roommate came into my room and said, "Dude,
is this the new Dillinger Escape Plan?" After telling him what it was, he was impressed,
saying that it sounded like DEP but he wondered why there weren't any vocals.
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