American Nightmare – Life Support 7” (Deathwish Inc)

American Nightmare - Life Support 7'' - Deathwish Inc

Life Support is the latest offering by American Nightmare, a legendary hardcore punk band from Boston, Massachusets. Like the Consider by Gouge Away, that I covered on our pages yesterday, this 7” record also went under the radar. For those who somehow missed this band, American Nightmare released some impressive recordings, such as a debut four-song demo recording, a self-titled EP, The Sun Isn’t Getting Any Brighter EP, and debut full-length Background Music. Then the group published a split 7” tribute to Black Flag alongside Anodyne and The Dillinger Escape Plan. After that, American Nightmare appeared on a 6×7” split release with Time Flies, Count Me Out, Barfight, Wheelbite, Worn Thin, and later on released We’re Down Til We’re Underground. The band broke up in 2004, just a day after they canceled the Europian tour. After seven years on hiatus, American Nightmare made a comeback with reunion shows, followed by the reissues of Background Music and We’re Down Til We’re Underground. It wasn’t until 2017 when they released a brand new material, and Clang Bang Clang Flexi 7” tribute to The Lemonheads in 2018.

Life Support offers two compositions, a brand new single and a cover song of legendary The Lemonheads. American Nightmare changes directions in their sound with such ease, so every new release comes with loads of surprises. That’s the case with this 7” record as well. Unlike their previous self-titled album, which included enormously dynamic hardcore numbers, Life Support goes in the opposite direction. The group decided to explore some proto-punk waters that heavily resemble the sound of The Wipers, Black Flag, The Germs, or perhaps MC5. Luckily enough, American Nightmare is one of those bands who are giving their best performance in any role they pick up along the way. The band mimics the seventies and eighties punk rock sound through appealing semi-distorted chord progressions. The melodies are carrying subtle dosages of gritty underground rock’n’roll, but the energetic chorus reveals their immeasurable devotion to punk rock music. The profoundly dynamic rhythm section liberates enough power to support these guitar shreds but also fulfills the overall ambiance with constant splashing over the cymbals. Vocal segments are layering the complete orchestrations, and Wes gives his best to convey the atmosphere of the eighties punk rock music.

American Nightmare decided to cover up Left For Dead by The Lemonheads. Considering they’ve already covered Clang Bang Clang by the same group, it seems that the band members are keeping The Lemonheads close to their hearts. After a couple of listenings, I can only assume the American Nightmare has done incredible work on this one. It’s one of those situations where the cover sounds even better than the original song. Maybe it’s because of a contemporary production or the effort American Nightmare put at this particular number. Whatever may be the case, the entire band demonstrates how the cover songs supposedly should sound. It seems like this version is a bit faster than the original, and that speed boost unquestionably provides a fresh outlook on such a marvelous composition. If you are a true fan of The Lemonheads, then you won’t be disappointed by this version either.

Life Support gives a bit of a taste into a new sound of American Nightmare. However, this material lacks a couple of more songs. It’s a sneak peek of what’s about to come up next, but it leaves the impression like a couple of more songs would fully complete this material. Some of the older fans will be disappointed with their new direction, but it will certainly gather a lot more newbies who might be interested in profoundly detailed punk rock sound. Life Support is available on black vinyl at the Deathwish Inc. web store, so head over and support their work.

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