American Nightmare

American Nightmare

Written by: PP on 05/05/2018 15:16:33

Despite having only released two records at the beginning of the 2000s, American Nightmare quickly became a cult band within hardcore punk, whose members went on to form bands as varying as Head Automatica, Some Girls, and The Hope Conspiracy among others upon their breakup in 2004. They reunited in 2011 and have played sporadic shows ever since, yet "American Nightmare" is their first studio album in 15 years. It's almost as if time stood still all those years, because the soundscape is still very much made of the same ingredients which made the band so iconic in their time: the emotionally-charged havoc in their singer's delivery that gives their brand of hardcore punk a uniquely melancholic and gloomy twist. If you wonder where the likes of Bane and This Is Hell sourced some of their inspiration from, look no further than American Nightmare.

It's a welcome entry in the often macho- and testosterone-driven hardcore scene these days because of primarily two feats. One, the band take the genre back to its basics, offering a brand of classic hardcore punk that is both two-step friendly and down-tuned enough to appeal to the genre purists. At the same time, the band splice that sound with a surprising amount of melancholic melody that has the effect of making their soundscape particularly ferocious in its nature. The result is just over 20 minutes worth of beautiful hardcore punk that is led by high intensity outpours of emotion like "Flowers Under Siege", which leaves a lasting memory despite being just 49 seconds long.

The record's centerpiece is nonetheless the ambitious "War", which utilizes punk undertones to create a two-step danceable rhythm that devours the melancholic desperation in singer Wesley Eisold's delivery to near-perfection. it's a raw exhibit of fierce honesty delivered in what is likely the most captivating melodic hardcore song you'll hear all year long. Think to the best emotionally charged material by particularly Verse and you've got a good idea of what's going on here.

If there's one complaint to have about "American Nightmare" it is that it is too short. At just about 20 minutes, the record feels like it finishes before it even gets properly started. That's just part of the intensity, I suppose. Either way, the result is a ferocious piece of melancholy that once again displays all the possibilities beyond mere two-step that hardcore has to offer. In that sense, you could say it's a great example of a hardcore record that people who aren't into hardcore might actually like. The hardcore fans, however? You're in for a real treat.


Download: War, Flowers Under Siege, American Death, Gloom Forever
For the fans of: Righteous Jams, Modern Life Is War, Bane, This Is Hell, Verse, Ruiner
Listen: Facebook

Release date 16.02.2018
Rise Records

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