american – Violate and Control (Sigh, My Tears Flow)

Facebook was begging me to post something for all of you because I haven’t been. This album is why. Now and then I get hit, hard, by a revelation. Here it is. Sometimes people accept goodness on what everyone else says and assume the opinion as their own. When I first knew that american was releasing a new full-length, I freaked, because they made me freak in a “Cassette Assault” feature I did back in 2014. At that time I considered it a crime they had never done a release with me, but since I just started doing that again no one really knows anyway. So a favorite label of mine, Sentient Ruin Laboratories, being the purveyor of their first, naturally nabbed this one. I saw the art of Violate and Control and expected a lot. Just by virtue of the band’s name I expected a lot. I hyped it up to myself without even hearing any of it, and though I try to avoid it, I couldn’t miss others hyping it in this digital black hole we call the Internet. Once I finally starting it moving I paused. This is that? This is them? What is this? What happened?


american are, let me say it, excellent at working new angles with black metal, sludge, and a million other genre tags that make for lazy criticism. They proved that on their first one (see link above if you don’t believe I liked it). This time, however, Violate and Control only succeeds in the first aspect of the title. It has no power whatsoever to achieve listener dominance, and I couldn’t believe it. For a two-piece these guys are still doing incredible things, but this particular release is shockingly meek. There are barely any memorable riffs outside of a few key moments, largely because the rest of it is so lost in needless experimentation that your mind will latch onto anything better just to breathe. At times the feedback haze obscures the band’s better abilities, at others it sounds merely like cheap noise that black metal fans will find groundbreaking simply because they aren’t experience enough with noise in any genre. At other times there are elements that work, such as the electronic, industrial sound to the beat of the opener, or at one point when the metallic drumming mixes with the harsh screaming, but these are quickly forgotten as Violate and Control degrades into nonsense for the sake of difference. Track six, “Amorous and Subdued,” the greatest moment, is the only one that stuck with me. It seems cliche to say “their early stuff was better,” but this is truly a case of it if they’re not careful next time around. Stop trying to defy and amaze, or you’ll lose sight of your meaning. These things are achieved the less you think about it.


american Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

american: Violate and Control
Fragile Branch, Sentient Ruin Laboratories, Shove Records
3.4 / 5