American Standards “Still Life” EP Review

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If you threw punk, thrash metal, and hardcore in a blender, the resulting mixture might sound something similar to American Standards. This genre defying quartet from Phoenix, Arizona, which has spent much of 2012 touring with bands such as Touché Amore, Joyce Manor, and Sick Of It All, is steadily crafting a unique sound that can be appreciated by a diverse groups of music enthusiasts, including everyone from fans of traditional punk to headbanging metalheads. In June of 2012, American Standards released the Still Life EP, which refreshingly fuses the spirit of early 80’s crossover thrash with elements of hardcore, in the best ways possible.

The EP starts off with the small and mighty “Self (En)Titled”, which acts as the perfect attention getter for a heavy as hell album. “Raised By Wolves” comes next with some gnarly, harsh vocals alongside scintillating bass lines and outstanding riffs.  Amazing drumming, represented in all its primal fury, is showcased on the track, “Bottom Feeder”.  The unexpected clean vocals towards the end were surprisingly enjoyable as well and an energizing break from the previous onslaught of menacing screams. “Paradigm-Alt-Shift-Delete” was my favorite track off the album, and it definitely unleashes the thrash. The song packs a ton of face-melting, innovative riffs and slamming beats with bass that is off-the-charts good! Things are cranked up into hyper-drive with the more hardcore influenced “Harvester”, and again the bass is simply riveting and commanding, no matter how fast. This song was evocative of 80’s skate thrash, unbridled bedlam interlaced with succinct melodies, with brilliant and frenetic guitar playing as the apex of the track. “The Red Queen” is where the anarchistic punk influences are exposed in full glory. The intense vocals, trippy guitar parts, and continually fluctuating tempo will undoubtedly leave fans wanting to slam dance in a circle pit. Still Life finally comes to an end with its title track, highlighting the band’s consistent ability to pump out stellar riffs and divinely unique rhythms.

American Standards crafted one hell of a memorable album with Still Life, producing some of the most mosh-inducing tracks, simply prodigious for headbanging. Still Life combines the energy and essence of hardcore with the stellar bass lines and awesome riffs of crossover thrash. American Standards is a breath of fresh air, as there aren’t too many groups out there playing this style, providing an opportunity for younger metalheads to revel in the sounds of an earlier era. If you’re a fan of Cancer Bats, Glassjaw, Every Time I Die, Municipal Waste, The Defiled, Gorilla Biscuits, Cro-Mags, or other hardcore and thrash metal artists, definitely give Still Life a listen. For more information, check out American Standards’ Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AmericanStandards/info) and don’t forget to give their page a thumbs-up!

Lauren L.

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