American Heritage Bipolar

Since 1997, Chicago-based hardcore deconstructionists American Heritäge have been eking out sonic devastation on various labels, and the apt-titled Bipolar is a compilation of old and new material, though there’s little in the liner notes that proves this. Even if most songs are quite repetitive and imitative, the band pours on maximum amounts of whizzing, lurching time-signature changes that’ll keep heads spinning. Album opener "Everyone Knows They Lied to Us” is one of the only cuts that features vocals in the form of a cigarette-ravaged, Isis-inspired gruffness over the top of Keelhaul-forged hardcore. "Pole to Hole” starts off like an old Cathedral song and is rather tame compared to its predecessors, but "Phil Collins” is the brass ring here: improbable algebraic configurations that only computers should be capable of constructing. "Forget” (an alternate version from last year’s The Combined Stupidity of Spiteful Men) is drawn-out and sludgy like old Cable, mixed in with liberal amounts of Mastodon. "Yzzo” is more calculated and economical in its damage, like label-mates Collapsar. Though "Star of David” is just as abrasive and chunky as the rest, with a strange outro of melodic vocals and odd chordal permutations like Chromelodeon or even Genghis Tron and keyboards that are straight out of Rush’s "Overture.” Four uncredited and totally different tracks follow some punk debris, particularly Black Flag worship in their caustic cover of "No More.” Despite their dreadfully piss-poor name, American Heritäge manage to rock the math-core without adding overly profligate riffage and amateurish vocals. (Escape Artist)