By: Garviel Loken
Clocking in at less than twenty minutes, the seven tracks of "Still Life" by American Standards are a breath of fresh air for those in the hardcore scene who are
suffocating from boredom and apathy. Unlike many bands in this genre that re-hash the same old ideas or rely on technique alone to stay relevant, American
Standards has cleverly sidestepped these pitfalls. Bridging the gap between late 90s hardcore and the modern era of metal, "Still Life" rings true on all fronts.
From the quixotic Vision of Disorder style guitar playing on tracks like Harvester or the clean vocals (being very reminiscent of Glassjaw) on Paradigm (Alt) Shift
(Delete), American Standards has a wide variety of sounds they delve in and out of with great effect over the course of the EP. The songwriting is very strong and
interesting, with many dynamic changes in tempo and mood that simultaneously ground the songs while letting them take off into the stratosphere when
necessary. They also have no fear about throwing a hook or two into the mix, which should be readily apparent to anyone who hears the track Raised By
The vocals help out a lot with enhancing the catchiness and feel of the album as they have an attitude to them that really reminds one of Keith Buckley from Every
Time I Die. There is a certain sarcastic and witty tone to them, whether they are ranting, screaming, or singing a part. High marks must be given for a vocalist
who actually has a personality in his performance versus just having some dude grunt and growl unintelligibly the whole time.
Another awesome aspect about "Still Life" is the sheer amount of great riffs the band came up with for it. Every song has something memorable about it.
American Standards also demonstrates musical confidence by the fact that very few of those riffs ever repeat themselves during the EP. While there's nothing
wrong with coming up with a great part and building a song around it, there is also much to be said about a band that can consistently write copious amounts of
excellent parts and arrange them into a powerhouse as these guys have done.
Having dispensed with all of the praise, the one gripe that exists must be placed before the house in the form of a question: When will there be a full length
album? This EP is over far too quickly and in the manner of all good music, it leaves you wanting more. The day American Standards drops an album is eagerly
anticipated in this neck of the woods, so until then we'll just have to push repeat continuously.
Final Score: 8/10
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