To call American Nightmare an iconic hardcore band is an understatement. The enigmatic act may have only released two full-length albums since forming nearly two decades ago but after temporarily losing their name, changing members and breaking up, the band has risen from the ashes with an album that expands their legacy and reestablishes them as titans of the genre. "We've progressed to the true essence of the band," frontman Wes Eisoldexplains. "In making this record we had one goal: To make a hardcore punk album that was true to American Nightmare, who we were then and who we are now. No filler, just existential poetic venom. This is ground zero, a new life for the band."
Correspondingly American Nightmare is a dark hardcore record that pays homage to groups who have always influenced the band ranging from Negative Approach, SSD, and The Cro-Mags to Joy Division and Siouxsie And The Banshees. "American Nightmare's musical influence has always been far from traditional hardcore," Eisold explains. "Post-punk, specifically romantic dark post-punk is and was my first love but never really got there in our music – and that's strange because there isn't that much of a difference between some hardcore and the first Bauhaus record. Those references were always there aesthetically but were filtered through a 20-something depressed ultra-violent hardcore punk kid. Genres were always something we liked to blur and we are definitely a hardcore punk band but our definition of that encompasses a lot."
Diversity is in abundance here from the blazing old-school opener "The World Is Blue" to gothy post-punk of "Gloom Forever" and sinister syncopation of "Colder Than Death." And for every pit-worthy ripper like "Lower Than Life" there's a more meditative yet equally explosive song like "Dream" and that distinctive dichotomy is something that American Nightmare had always hoped to achieve in their own bleak way that truly transcends hardcore.