Article By: Brian Halsey ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
I’m at that awkward phase where I still go to hardcore shows, but I relate to way too many satirical headlines from The Hard Times News about 30-somethings still crushing kids in the pit.
I use battle-tested wisdom to pick my spots. Every Time I Die / Knocked Loose was the last set to bring me out of hiding. After one full spin of American Standards 2017 release, ‘Anti – Melody’, it comes as no surprise they have shared the stage with the aforementioned killers.
This is the old-school, breakneck style that will live on forever in the hardcore metal community. Phoenix, Arizona’s American Standards is all the chaos you can handle and then some. The songs are frantic and aggressive, but they know when to hold back for a second to maximize their explosions.
“Carpe Diem, Tomorrow” (track 2) is a ripper that will have you banging your head at the breakdown and screaming along like you’ve known the words since 2001.
“Bartenders Without Wings”, cuts the album in half nicely with some ambient shoegaze, that fits the moment well, but isn’t overused. “Chicago Overcoat” is the anvil closer you knew you were gonna get dropped on your head at the end of this beast. There is added beauty that lies beneath the surface of this album. I’d never call something named ‘Anti – Melody’, melodic, but there are some insane riffs and catchy vocals scattered into the fray.
In terms of content, this is an album born from various personal tragedies. There’s a certain sincerity you can’t fake, and certain anger you don’t have the tongue for unless you’ve lived it. American Standards unleashes a track titled “Cancer Eater”, that is both soul-crushing and spirit lifting at the same time. Musically and intellectually, the listener is taken back to the roots of the scene. Reminiscent of American Nightmare / Give Up The Ghost teaching us how to deal with feelings; you don’t have to act emo, you just have to smash stuff to fucking pieces.
Engineered by Andy Marshall at Kingsize Sound Labs, Mastered by Jay Maas at Getaway Recording Studio, and Mixed by American Standards, this is a true testament to DIY ethics.
Brandon Kellum (vocals), Corey Skowronski (guitar), Steven Mandell (bass), and Mitch Hosier (drums) offer a truly generous NYP (Name Your Price) digital download on their Bandcamp page. Throw them a few bucks, or download their shit for free and buy a t-shirt (and do it fast because they are selling out damn near everything in their merch section).
“Remember me, remember.” Don’t worry American Standards we will, you earned it.
01. Writers Block Party
02. Carpe Diem, Tomorrow
03. Church Burner
04. Bartenders Without Wings
05. Danger Music #9
06. Cancer Eater
07. Broken Culture
08. Chicago Overcoat