Wow, this was one of the hardest albums to review in quite some time. This is American Heritage's new album and it's the final one as well. Apparently guitarist/vocalist Adam Norden disbanded American Heritage after the recordings of this album. I haven't heard the previous album 'Sedentary' (or any others for that matter) so I have not much to compare it to. Will the loss of American Heritage be a big shame or not? Only one way to tell.
First of all, I have to say that it was very difficult to get a sense of direction with this album. American Heritage take influences from lots of different genres. Hardcore, mathcore, crustpunk, progressive metal, noiserock, technical metal, sludge.. it's all there. But while a lot of bands take all of these influences and melt them into a 'new' sound, the individual songs on 'Prolapse' sound so different from one another that it almost seams like a different band for each song. That also means that it makes for a very schizofrenic listening experience. Some of the tracks have a huge appeal to me, like opening track 'Eastward Cast the Entrails' and the awesome 'Mask of Lies' but others leave me absolutely cold, like 'Anxious Bedwetter' and 'Constant and Consuming Fear of Death and Dying'. Combine that with a couple of 'okay-not-great' tracks and you could say that for me it became very much a 'hits and misses' album.
Productionwise there is absolutely nothing wrong with this album. Sanford Parker (of Buried At Sea, Twilight, Minsk and a truckload of recording jobs) made sure this albums sounds exactly like it should, capturing the raw ferocity of hardcore and the subtlety of progressive metal. I like the guitarsound in particular a lot, it has a nice "crunch" to it. The same goes for the rest of the instruments and the vocals. All of it sounds raw and furious and crisp and clear at the same time. Good job there Sanford!
The album closes with three cover songs: 'Hürtin' Crüe' (Descendents), 'Thirsty and Miserable' (Black Flag) and 'Bulletproof Cupid' (Girls Against Boys) and all of them have a very appropriate sound, matching the feel of the period of the originals. They're played pretty much as straight covers which somehow feels like a slight dissapoinment. I would've like to have heard more of the brutal rawness of the 'Mask of Lies' track in them.
In all fairness, it might just be that this just went over my head a bit and hardcore fans will freak out over this. The couple of tracks that I enjoyed, and I enjoyed them a LOT, were far to brief and scattered to make this something I will continue to listen to. However if, let's call it, 'progressive hardcore' sounds appealing to you, by all means give this a go. Just remember that if you found your new favourite band, well, you can only go backward in their catalogue...