Saturday, 20 December 2014

American Heritage - Prolapse (Album Review)

Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 24/11/2014
Label: Solar Flare Records

‘Prolapse’ CD/DD/LP track listing:

1. Eastward Cast the Entrails
2. Anxious Bedwetter
3. Obliviocrity
4. Constant and Consuming Fear of Death and Dying
5. Mask Of Lies
6. Blackbird
7. Hu
̈rtin’ Crüe [Descendents Cover]
8. Thirsty and Miserable [Black Flag Cover]
9. Bulletproof Cupid [Girls Against Boys Cover]

American Heritage are:

Adam Norden | Bass, Vocals, Guitars
Erik Bocek | Bass
Mike Duffy | Drums
Scott A. Shellhamer | Guitars


American Heritage come at you with their sixth full length, 'Prolapse', like a bulldozer with a broken brake pedal. It's big, it's unstoppable, and it destroys. And much like the aforementioned bulldozer, frankly it doesn't do much good and its component parts would probably be better used elsewhere.

With that curious name, ostensibly nationalistic enough to concern more sensitive members of the left, American Heritage aren't a bad band. Hell, they do their thing pretty well. However, that thing struggles for relevance in a post-atmo-sludge, post-John-Baizley-coverart scene. At around 33 minutes stretching over nine songs (three of which are covers); the album feels a little brief and unconcerned with making the best of itself.

With those Mastodon-esque riffs resting upon drums that flit and double upon themselves more than drive, 'Prolapse' certainly does meat and potatoes prog-sludge well. Their music belongs to that brighter, tighter side of sludge, one that cares to raise its gaze from the grime and putridity of Iron Monkey brand misery and look you in the eye with confidence and clear direction. Through this, the album keeps its feet firmly on the ground and never strays into Intronaut levels of atmo-sludge wanderings that stand at the other end of the spectrum.

The vocals, like the music, seem to borrow liberally from the Baroness and Mastodon textbook. Yet to compare them to either of these bands is not entirely fair, with American Heritage displaying an aversion to bullshit and frills that even 'Remission'-era Mastodon or 'Blue Album' by Baroness could not claim to boast. Honestly though, it was the tasteful bullshit and frills that made 'Remission' and the 'Blue Album' my favourites in their respective discographies, with 'Prolapse' coming across as flat from missing a little of this.

I can't help but feel all this has been done before, 2008 has been and gone. In a landscape littered with bands of all genres pushing boundaries or in some cases flat out ignoring them, 'Prolapse' raises concerns over how a band like American Heritage will stay relevant or release music worth getting excited over. Of course there is an audience for this, people will listen to it, people will enjoy it. But then again some people still like Anvil.'

Words by: Jake Mazlum

You can pick up a copy here

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