American Nightmare – ‘DEDICATED TO THE NEXT WORLD’

By Ian Kenworthy

Your hard work will get you nothing. No one is equal. Welcome to the American Nightmare.

The idea of America as the land of opportunity is one anyone would want to buy into, but not this band from Boston, Massachusetts. They’re flipping that idea, inverting it, interrogating it and using it to fuel their music on new EP ‘Dedicated To The Next World’.

American Nightmare revel in the idea of the outsider. Having formed in the late 90s, they released a couple of razor-sharp, highly influential EPs (Collected as ‘Year One’) and put a stamp on the hardcore scene, then burnt out. Since then, they’ve existed on the fringes, reforming, playing shows and occasionally making a statement.

If you’ve encountered them before, you’ll know what you’re getting here. Their sound is hardcore punk in the vein of Black Flag, Touché Amore or more modern bands like For Your Health, and this EP is picking up where 2020’s two song ‘Life Support’ left off. The four short songs rip past, yet there’s plenty to sink your teeth into with each making a point and leaving a mark. It’s definitely worth seven minutes of your time.

‘How I Got Away’ kicks things off with chimes of guitars and a sudden burst of energy. Wes Eisold’s distinctive howl combines timing and melody into a verbal weed-whacker that flails at numerous targets but remains remarkably catchy. Even when the song changes pace, you can’t help but be sucked along. It’s a trait running through the EP, and the title track relentlessly drives in a way that makes you feel like you’ve grabbed a passing motorcycle, dragging you along for fifty-six seconds of intense riffing and snarling melody. In contrast ‘Real Love’ allows the band to stretch their muscles with a slight change of pace and, by using its title as a chant, it creates an engaging and surprisingly catchy hook. It’s here you’ll notice how the production captures swirling guitar sounds and manages to bottle a sense of frantic energy.

All Eisold’s creative works embrace the idea of being an outsider in a system and here his lyrics are an acerbic takedown of modern culture, presented with a certain dark humour. Even the song title ‘Self-Check Out’ combines the mundanity of modern life with the suggestion of suicide. Hence, it’s not hard to see why Fall Out Boy once got themselves into trouble for ripping him off, although the intent here is far more abrasive than anything they’d put out.

Finally, ‘Praying Hands On Fire’ signals its darker, noisier intentions by opening with an evil-sounding chord. Yet, it quickly changes into an intense chainsaw attack of squealing guitars and a crowd-like bustle attacks from all sides, leaving you in no doubt of what the band’s message is, and exactly how they feel about it.

Urgent, cathartic and highly listenable, ‘Dedicated To The Next World’ is a short, sharp blast that’ll leave you feeling like you’ve been airdropped into a hornets’ nest.


Three more album reviews for you

3Teeth - 'EndEx'

Annisokay - 'Abyss Pt I'

LIVE: Mutoid Man @ Oslo, London