American Steel – Destroy Their Future
Record Label: Fat Wreck Chords
Release Date: October 2, 2007
I can’t imagine anyone being surprised by Destroy Their Future. Which, at first glance, is an odd thing to say about an album that sounds quite different from American Steel’s three previous full-lengths. As fans know, the band made a gigantic leap from the fast-paced punk rock of their first two albums to the much slower-tempo and diverse Jagged Thoughts. I for one found Jagged Thoughts to be a bit uneven; it has some amazingly engaging songs interspersed with songs that, to this day, after years of listening, I still cannot recall. After releasing Jagged Thoughts, the band proceeded to break up only to reform again six years later and release Destroy Their Future.
The point in all of this discussion of their previous albums is that American Steel have taken the best elements from both sounds and combined them, with the result being Destroy Their Future. The unifying aspect in all of American Steel’s previous albums has been a kind of orchestrated sloppiness that gives the music a very raw feel; in fact I would argue that is what makes it an American Steel album. Thankfully, this has not changed in Destroy Their Future.
The album opens with “Sons of Avarice”, a folk-punk sounding tune reminiscent of (good) Against Me! Though this can be surprising at first American Steel have always had a bit of a folk-punk sound to them, just never as predominate as it is on this song. Then “Dead and Gone” comes on and throws the listener for yet another loop, as there is a distinct Vaux vibe to it. Nevertheless, American Steel manage to make both of these sounds their own. While both of these songs are on par with some of American Steel’s better work, any person who has even a slight interest in music knows it is rare for a band to go an entire album without many “filler” tracks. As such, I was wary of another Jagged Thoughts-type record and was anticipating the eventual let-down.
Then, instead of slowly winding down, “Mean Streak” kicks in and washes any worries aside. While it may not be their best song, it completely epitomizes their sound. That is, to use the title of one their older songs, sloppy fucking drunk. And I mean that in the best way possible. The next few songs are the only ones I would say are “average,” and they begin to run together when listening to the album from beginning to end. So much so that I literally jumped in my seat the first time “Old Croy Road” started to play. The song is perfectly placed, as it picks up the pace at just the right time to completely revitalize the album. While it immediately slows back down right after “Old Croy Road” the songs at the end of the record are some of the best slower-tempo songs American Steel have written. This is refreshing as it makes for an album that does not slack off in the latter half as most tend to do; in fact it might be the strongest part of Destroy Their Future, with another perfectly placed song in “Hurtlin’” that keeps the songs from running together
If you enjoyed American Steel’s first two albums but did not enjoy Jagged Thoughts, or vice versa, I’d recommend giving them another shot. Or maybe you’ve never heard of them but are interested in punk music. To you I’d say at least check out a few of their songs, if not outright buy the album. I say this because I’m fairly certain anyone who enjoyed all three of their previous works pre-ordered this album as soon as it was available. American Steel have managed to put together a fresh album that is one of the best in their respective genre so far this year.
Pretty good review, dude. I really enjoyed this record, it's very catchy and filled with tons of potential sing-alongs. Some of the Alkaline Trio comparisons I've seen floating around have been pretty apt, namely on tracks like "Dead and Gone" and "Or, Don't You Remember?". Overall it's a shit ton better than Jagged Thoughts and everything they released as Communique.