|American Head Charge are survivors. Despite numerous line-ups, the tragic death of guitarist Bryan Ottoson and changing labels, the band is still creating music and decimating crowds across the globe. Their new Nitrus Records CD/DVD compilation aptly-titled Can't Stop the Machine chronicles their roller-coaster career. Guitarist Benji Hellberg sums up the DVD best. "I want fans to be able to feel like they're getting to see inside the band members' souls. The story is completely out of control and unbelievable, and the music is just as out of control and unbelievable." With numerous extras, music videos and unreleased tracks, fans are granted all access to the enigmatic band like never before. The DVD also features a 75-minute documentary with tour and studio footage from the last five years, as well as jarring and honest interviews with members both past and present. Holding nothing back, the film captures the darkness and genius inherent within American Head Charge.
The documentary reveals the Minneapolis band's whole history. Footage begins when the band burst onto the national scene in 2001 with their Rick Rubin produced American Recordings debut The War of Art. The release immediately separated them from the nu metal pack. Violent, strange, cathartic, dangerous and utterly groundbreaking, they blended the industrial grind of Ministry and Marilyn Manson with the tripped-out melodic experimentation of Faith No More. Stints on OZZfest 2001 and a worldwide tour with Slipknot followed, and the film encapsulates the madness onstage and off. During that time, The War of Art went on to sell in excess of 250,000 units, and it propelled the band to international acclaim with the singles "All Wrapped Up" and "Just So You Know."
Tape keeps rolling as the band creates their sophomore record for Nitrus entitled The Feeding in 2005. More riff-oriented than its predecessor, this batch of tunes engaged a full-force guitar assault driven by late axe-slinger Ottoson. Despite selling more than 100,000 copies of their second offering, tragedy befell the band when Ottoson's heart stopped while on tour with Mudvayne. The guitarist unknowingly had walking pneumonia, and after a couple drinks and two prescribed sleeping pills, he passed away in his sleep. Bryan was far from forgotten. In one of the documentary's most intense and moving moments, the band plays the 2005 Download festival, and the entire crowd begins chanting Bryan's name. It's unsettling yet beautiful as the band claps along to the deafening screams. However, with Cameron Heacock's entrancing and brutal vocals, Chad Banks's chaotic and driving bass, Justin Fowler's haunting keyboards and Dane Tuders's pummeling percussion, the band are reborn in 2007 with Can't Stop the Machine. "The DVD is a good segue to the next record, because the band has been through so much. 99 percent of the bands out there would've broken up. For the band to even still be kicking is amazing to me," says Hellberg.
Ultimately, the DVD captures the essence of American Head Charge. Hellberg continues, "When you listen to American Head Charge, you get the real story, you get a real feeling for what's going on inside of the minds, the heads and the lives of every member. It's taken from extreme beauty to extreme chaos, and that's exactly how life is for us."