It’s fair to say that things haven’t been easy for American Head Charge.
Over the years, the group has battled with their own personal demons as well as having to cope with the tragic death of their guitarist Bryan Ottoson in 2005. With numerous changes both within the band’s line-up and a new record label with each album, it is no surprise that the Nu Metal outfit decided to call it a day in the summer of 2009.
However, as the band put it, stranger things have happened and following a two-year hiatus and a successful Indiegogo campaign, American Head Charge returned like a phoenix rising from the flames. Having been over ten years since their last full-length album The Feeding, last year American Head Charge released a brand new long player titled Tango Umbrella via Napalm Records.
Now with a revised touring line-up, featuring powerhouse drummer Jeremiah Stratton of Hed PE and old friend and bandmate Benji Helberg returning on guitar – AHC has taken to the road across Europe and arrived at the O2 Academy Newcastle to headline a four-band metal extravaganza.
German group Reptil opened the show and delivered somewhat of an audio-visual performance before Brisbane based hard-hitting five-piece outfit In Death won over the Geordie faithful with a punishing display of Aussie death metal.
Following the demise of Sister Sin at the end of 2015, Liv Jagrell returns with her new solo project Liv Sin. The Swedish vocalist took to the stage cloaked by a veil as the band launched into “Godless Utopia” before quickly shedding the garb. Dressed like a true metal frontwoman, tattoos and all Liv sported black denim shorts, fishnets, ankle boots and a black tank top which was embellished with a studded waistcoat.
Jagrell commanded the room, she prowled the edge of the stage – it felt like Liv connected with everyone in the crowd.
With only a shorter allotted time, Liv Sin wasted no time in taking the Newcastle metal fraternity through a set which focused predominantly on her debut solo record Follow Me. One thing which was immediately apparent was that Liv has shed the shackles of Sister Sin – her new material is a lot heavier than what we’ve come to expect. Melodic metal tracks like “Let Me Out”, “Killing Ourselves to Live” and the band’s fist-pumping anthem “I’m Your Sin” really stood out and whipped the crowd into a frenzy.
For all of the old school fans in the crowd, the band included “Outrage”, which was the only Sister Sin song in the set. However, this wasn’t a bad thing, as Jagrell’s new material more than stood on its own
Liv Sin closed out the set with “The Fall”, which was executed with speed and fury. Jagrell down on her knees like a wild woman of metal, thrashed about on the stage, praying at the altar of the guitar. The band’s short but sweet left the crowd wanting more.
Hip hop courtesy of the Geto Boys resonated over the house PA as American Head Charge burst onto the stage like a vortex of energy and launched immediately into “Let All The World Believe”; the opening track from Tango Umbrella. This being one of three tracks showcased from the album along with current single “Drowning Under Everything” and “Perfectionist”.
With a new generation of fans in attendance, who may not necessarily have seen the band back in the day, their energy and exuberance seemed to spur on the band. A circle pit opened up in the middle of the room which remained there predominantly throughout the show, and even AHC’s Karma Singh Cheema tried his hand at crowd surfing during “All Wrapped Up”.
During the set lead vocalist, Cameron Heacock frequently and effortlessly switched gears between his melodic vocals to more almost primordial growls. The crowd hung on every word of old favourites like “Seamless” from The Art of War, which was executed at breakneck speed and closed out the main set.
Heacock largely let the music do the talking and kept himself to himself, but at as the band returned to the stage for a duly deserved encore he asked the band’s fans what they wanted to hear, and it seemed that “Ridicule” got an overwhelming vote. He reiterated “Ask and you shall receive” as the band launched into the track, which brought AHC’s almost 70 minute set to a close.
Obviously, American Head Charge has been through some difficult times, but on the strength of this performance, it seems like the band has come through the other side of it fighting, reinvigorated and raring to go.
Event Date: 14-Sept-2017