Artist: American Me
A “return to form,” for many bands, is both a blessing and curse–especially after returning from the brink of a breakup or while shaking the sleep of a deep hiatus. While being able to reestablish the same sound an artist may have worked hard to establish on past releases is promising, it’s understandable that at the same time, a lack of progression or an interruption in the natural pattern of advancement can be frustrating–for both the artist and the listener. American Me’s III finds itself in the midst of this quandary. While it picks up right where the band’s previous efforts left off, packed with crushing heaviness and contagiously catchy beatdown, there is little tangibly new aspects to the dynamic American Me have already established and used nearly to death.
At it’s core, III is an anvil-like juggernaut of metallic hardcore and beatdown. Fueled by political distrust and misanthropy, American Me have created a steam-roller of a release which, once it gets started, cannot be stopped. At the heart of the album, the drums maintain a heavy, deep pounding laden with furiously fast fills and drop-of-a-dime dives into skull-collapsing breakdowns. The heavy, low end provided by the drums is dog-piled upon by both guitars and bass work, which rarely rises from the subterranean depths at which they operate. All three of these elements combine to create a viciously heavy and in-your-face beatdown feel, with just enough technicality behind the drums and just enough occasional groove in the guitars to provide a metallic feel. While the instrumentation is a solid, driving factor, American Me’s real power comes from the visceral vocals and their volatile lyrics.
American Me use their vocals and lyrics to paint misanthropic, sociopathic and politically fueled images across their violent, devastating instrumentation. “Submissioner,” III’s second single featuring The Acacia Strain and Shut In’s Vincent Bennett is a thriving display of such an endeavor. While the lyrics are not fundamentally poetic, they are a well-organized and straightforward carrier for the hate and strife American Me aim to deliver. “Son of a Machine Gun pt. III” and “Narcota Night Life” are two more short, intense bursts of vocally-driven anger and anguish which nicely summarize III’s purpose as a whole: a short, furious, to-the-point skull-crusher of an album which punishes the listener before they can even realize what it is that hit them.
While III has a simple goal, and achieves it readily, it isn’t without it’s shortcomings–the most notable of which being just that. It’s an incredibly brief album. While it’s short length prevents the onset of the ever-popular plague of monotony, the incredible number of supporting vocalists and immense variation of track lengths already serves as an apt deterrent to boredom. Clocking in at a little over twenty two minutes, there is just no other way around it: American Me’s III, while a whirlwind of a release, still leaves the listener wanting. III’s other pitfall comes in the form of stagnancy, and really only applies to fans of Heat and Siberian Nightmare Machine. American Me have a tried and true formula of quick, hard-hitting beatdown-influenced hardcore: and while they certainly haven’t backslid with it, they aren’t taking much in the way of new ground, either. For all the time it took for their latest album to come to realization, there isn’t an enormous defining factor to separate it from their past releases. III is more of the same, even if “the same” is just what the listener might be looking for.
So while it isn’t a step or a leap for hardcore-kind, American Me’s III is a punctual, break-neck maelstrom of anger and chaos that’s sure to cure beatdown boredom. Loaded with visceral vocals, vicious lyrics, and intense, pummeling instrumentation, American Me provide a distinctly…well, American take on the metal-infused hardcore that might not be food for the mind, but is definitely fuel for the mosh.
For Fans Of: Shinto Katana, It Prevails, Shai Hulud, The Acacia Strain
By: Connor Welsh/Eccentricism