Review || American Nightmare - S/T

American Nightmare released their self-titled album, the first one after reuniting in 2011, on February 16th via Rise Records. According to vocalist Wes Eisold, the band aimed "to make a hardcore punk album that was true to American Nightmare, who we were then and who we are now. No filler, just existential poetic venom. This is ground zero, a new life for the band". It's in this regard that one should approach this album, which consists of nine ferocious and not particularly long songs.

The self-titled marks the undeniable creative rebirth of the band. Despite its youthful energy, it's not a happy album. Much like the previous material, Eisold's honest but poignant dark poetry still draws from nihilist and existential themes, while his versatile vocal performance ranges from raw screaming to singing in his lower register. Musically, the band exploits various influences. Nothing in this album is predictable; pure hardcore punk artfully blends with more upbeat and dynamic patterns, which then reach an ambient tone and finally transform into emotional melodic hooks. It is also noteworthy how present the bass is throughout the album.I'm personally a very big fan of prominent basslines so I was very pleasantly surprised when the album started playing (and no, singles may not always be indicative of the tiny details of a record). That track that stands out the most to me, is the ninth and final song, "Crisis Of Faith" -it's no secret that I have a soft spot for that sort of melodic hardcore. With the rhythm section steadily supporting the guitar harmonies, Eisold has a fertile ground to scream his lungs out in desperation and transition into some compelling singing for the finale.

This album was love at first spin. The band was true to their word. Without re-inventing themselves, they instead shaped again all the elements that make American Nightmare the riveting entity that they are (age also played a part in this) and created the album they would want to listen to on a rough day. It's aggressive but not violent, rowdy but intricate. I'd say its vibrant energy is the equivalent to a black morning coffee; a shot of adrenaline to rev the listener up before facing the reality of every day life. It's the epitome of a great comeback and definitely going in my yearlist.

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