Artist: American Standards
Album: The Death of Rhythm and Blues
If you know me personally, you will know that I am very picky with certain genres, hardcore music being one of those. So, when I say to you that I am truly impressed by a band in the genre, you can take that to the bank! American Standards is one of the few standout bands in hardcore music nowadays that truly speaks to the essence of the genre. Their lyrics are heartfelt, filled with raw emotion and have the ability to start mosh pits, as well as, being able to speak to the listener. With their latest release, “The Death of Rhythm and Blues” just on the horizon, they have pulled out all of the stops and kicked it up a few notches!
With the release of the debut single from the album, “The Engine and the Engineer”, the band seems to speak about a government, who essentially has become nothing but destructive and harmful to the people it is supposed to represent. Unnecessary bloodshed is what the US government is known for now, rather than patriotism, as we used to be. While we all rally together to try and stop the inevitable anarchy that will soon consume us all, the president sits high on his “throne” and laughs as he sends more out to die like ants in a magnifying glass! It’s wrong, it’s sick and it has to be stopped.
Following this opening track, we’re lead into “Dead Man’s Victory”, which is just as chaotic, if not more so, instrumentally. It’s a track about living life with no regrets. With lyrics like “Take all that you can grab and when your arms can hold no more. Let’s see if it fills the hole in empty chest in your empty soul. I found comfort in this struggle, I found connection from this pain. I’ve took the path less traveled, I’ve had a lot of loss for a little gain”, listeners can connect with the singer’s feelings of wanting to give up at times, but always pulling yourself up from the wreckage and living life like there’s no tomorrow. “I’ve got this noose that I call time, it’s gripping tighter at my neck. And with each day, oh with each day, I feel that chair slip!” This is a play on how life is short and again, living life with no regrets. Life is too short to not take chances, so live it up and don’t worry about what other people think. All that matters is that you are who you are, no matter the outcome.
“The Burden of Being” starts out fairly slow and then hammers into you for a good minute and a half, leaving you panting and wondering just where all that sudden aggression came from! It’s a track about having suicidal thoughts, but somehow having the courage and the strength to pull yourself back into reality and keep yourself pushing forward. Definitely one of my favorites on the EP lyrically.
The final track, “Misery Relapse” is one of the slower on the album, while still remaining just as hard-hitting as the others. This one, I’m not too clear on the meaning behind but I’m going to take a stab at it. When we try new things after having certain bad habits for so long, it’s hard to keep to them. We find ourselves “relapsing” and, therefore making ourselves miserable again, thus making it harder for us to succeed. This track really speaks to the soul, but again, I’m not ENTIRELY certain that’s what this track is about…just what I interpret from it.
Overall: Overall, the album is incredibly solid and astonishingly impressive. It’s not often I find myself enjoying a newer hardcore band as much as I do with American Standards so they have really put something together that they can be rightfully proud of and will, hopefully, speak to their fans the way it did to me. Please do yourselves a favor and pick up “The Death of Rhythm and Blues” on September 14th when it’s released! You won’t regret a single second of this 14-minute chaotic journey that you will find yourselves pulled into!