Young Minneapolis-based industrial-metal band American Head Charge cut its live teeth last summer filling one of the early slots on the OzzFest tour, reportedly hand-picked by members of Slipknot because of the group’s excessive sound.
But the upstarts proceeded to get more attention on the trek for their rabble-rousing antics (discharging shotguns onstage, throwing heavy objects into the crowd, etc.) than for their music, a zealous and relentless pairing of Nine Inch Nails/Ministry fury with elastic Faith No More-styled passages.
In its first headlining L.A. show Friday (after opening for Slayer at Universal the previous week), the seven-piece group brought that same big-show mentality to the Whisky A Go-Go, where in spite of ambition the extreme imagery won out over musical achievement.
The players each displayed distinct and frightening affectations (S&M gear, facial piercings, all-over tattoos, extreme hairstyles), and they played tightly through multiple time changes, but underneath all the wardrobe and the synthesized noise, most of the angry songs failed to deliver anything terribly original or to distinguish themselves from one another.
A couple tunes from AHC’s Rick Rubin-produced debut album, “The Art of War” (American/Island), did manage to rise above the calamitous din: “Seamless,” with its catchy chorus and unexpected operatic vocal middle (singer Martin Cock has quite a set of pipes), and the exceedingly intense “Never Get Caught” were among the 70-minute show’s better offerings.