American Steel
Destroy Their Future


3.5
great

Review

by Nick Greer EMERITUS
October 2nd, 2007 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Destroy Their Future is an album that isn't all it could be, mainly because of the production and tepid energy, but at its core there is not a bad song on the album.

American Steel - Destroy Their Future

After reviewing American Steel's previous LP Jagged Thoughts last August with a few little gripes about it not being rough or energetic enough compared to their previous works, and a few inevitable comparisons to Against Me!, the album did a strange thing to me. It taught me I was wrong to be such a nitpicker. Jagged Thoughts is a collective of wonderful, memorable songs. The energy and rawness is diminished but at the end of the day, songwriting wins all, and that album had some killer songwriting. So, when Destroy Their Future, American Steel's reunion album, their first in 6 years, appeared in my mailbox two weeks ago tried to get over myself as quickly as possible and listen to the songs as just that: songs.

I'm glad I did, because otherwise this review would just be a collection of grumpy gripes about the production and still reduced energy. Now it's just going to be a paragraph. To start, let's shake a stick at the production. I think it was done in house by the band members (at least that's what allmusic indicated). My promo sheet didn't give any pertinent info either. So, to whom it may concern, this production is the opposite of what enables these kinds of songs to succeed. American Steel are writing music that needs to have its griminess and distortion at the forefront instead of smoothed over like a radio single. In general, this problem affects the band as a whole by making everything a little too overproduced. Whereas on Jagged Thoughts there were sparse, reverby intros and verses ("Rainy Day") and great distorted guitar tones ("Turn It Out"), here there are only slicked over replicas. The vocals seem most subject to this issue, sounding like a sedated Robert Smith of The Cure in the first verse of "Dead and Gone" and like Davey Havok of AFI on the first verse of "More Like a Dream." It's just weird and unbecoming of their style. The only moment I can think of that is better off because of the production is the end of "Smile on Me" who's echoey guitar slides are beautiful. My second gripe, the diminished energy, is like beating a dead horse. American Steel is no longer the young East Bay punk band they once were. Their style has changed, so to get caught up on their less rugged sounding aesthetic would be gauche. Let's just say these East Bay Punx are very mysterious in changing their sound...

Now for the positives: the songs. Destroy Their Future is a collection of gems and growers. Upon first listen, you'll be smacked in the face by the immediate catchiness of "Songs of Avarice," "Love and Logic," and "Old Croy Road" songs that pick up where American Steel left off with Jagged Thoughts. They are fast, fun, and somewhat more intelligent than those of your average punk band. Upon repeat listens you'll start to appreciate subtler beauties on the album, like the aforementioned sliding guitar on "Smile on Me," the amazing vocal performance on "To the Sea," and the apt use of accordion on "Hurtin.'" This album, while not some lofty concept album with all of the songs tied together by abstract themes and musical motives, seems to be a perfect song album; it's just a collection of killer tracks. Hell, I may even start warming up to the worst tracks on the album "Mean Streak" and "Or, Don't You Remember?" who both suffer from being trying to hard and being cutesy as a result. As a final gush about the virtues of these songs, I'd like to talk about the vocals and poignant lyrics, which seem to still be great (excluding the goofy production issues making the vocals sound like those of faux-goth icons). Primary vocalist, Rory Henderson, has a perfectly gruff and emotive voice, and he rarely holds back. The intro to "Smile on Me" is a perfect example; his vocals are rough but at the same time oddly moving. The vocals are earnest without being cheesy. They could be singing about heartbreak and sound more legitimate due to the maturity of the voice. The lyrics also tap into this slightly more mature vein. Even when the lyrics are the most youthful or juvenile, "I lost my dad when I was ten years old / Got his record collection and stereo console / Learned every word / Sung every line," they still maintain a knowing tone.

Destroy Their Future is an album that isn't all it could be, mainly because of the production and tepid energy, but at its core there is not a bad song on the album. Some are true gems. I know I'm willing to get over these shortcomings to be able to enjoy the huge pros.

Recommended Tracks: To the Sea, Smile on Me, Sons of Avarice, Old Croy Road



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user ratings (24)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Intransit
October 2nd 2007


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I want this. Someone hook a brotha up over AIM.

Abaddon2005
October 3rd 2007


684 Comments


How does this compare to Jagged Thoughts? Is it as catchy overall or just those three songs?

DFelon204409
Emeritus
October 3rd 2007


3995 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's very catchy overall. I'd argue it's even more catchy because of the more mainstream/clean production.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
October 5th 2007


2675 Comments


... meaning I should check it out, then?

DFelon204409
Emeritus
October 5th 2007


3995 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Definitely. Get any of their albums. For you I'd recommend this one.

DFelon204409
Emeritus
October 7th 2007


3995 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I posted some mp3 links so people could check out the musics instead of just being like "Who is American Steel?"

Jom
Staff Reviewer
October 7th 2007


2675 Comments


Cool, thanks for throwing those up. I like what I heard, although I'm not really crazy about the vocals on 'Dead and Gone' (one, the parallel to a "sedated Robert Smith" is pretty spot-on, yet strangely enough, the vox on 'Sons of Avarice' sound great - it reminds me of Flogging Molly without the strings). The instrumentation is solid stuff, and I liked the review because it gave sort of a historical timeline from a personal account while still keeping eye on the album. And it's cool that the chick from Fat Wreck was responsive.

DFelon204409
Emeritus
October 7th 2007


3995 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ya Fat Wreck rules. It's really only the beginning of "Dead and Gone" that is hampered by such vocals. The rest of the album is definitely more like "Sons of Avarice."

Intransit
October 29th 2007


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Band was fucking killer live, but overshadowed by the Lawrence Arms unfortunately. Their guitarist threw the setlist at me without me even asking for it.

Sons of Avarice
Every New Morning
Dead and Gone
Loaded Gun
Smile on Me
There's A New Life
Rainy Day
Rogue's March
Old Croy Road
Optimist
Mean Streak
Maria

Wish they played Love and Logic though.

Two-Headed Boy
October 29th 2007


4527 Comments


Really want to get this.

descendents1
October 29th 2007


702 Comments


I haven't heard it either. Their last album is really enjoyable though.

DFelon204409
Emeritus
October 30th 2007


3995 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That's a sweet setlist. I'm surprised that "Shrapnel" isn't on there.

Intransit
October 31st 2007


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, like I said, they were fucking killer, but outdone by both The Lawrence Arms and Avail after them them.

tom79
October 31st 2007


3372 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah I was gonna point out that Shrapnel would be good in the setlist, that song is so good. I should probably get this sometime.

Digging: Karate - Some Boots

veganxr2x
February 2nd 2008


9 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is phenominal. I'm really fucking tired of all the complaints about how they've changed. Of course they've changed. They've been at it for over ten years now. Name one band that hasn't evolved in one way or another. Look at AFI. I saw them open for Guttermouth about 12 years ago. Davey had a shaved head and was wearing highwaters. If anything, AS should be commended for staying at least close to their roots and not making this just another Communique record. Also, for those of you who complain about the slick production, fuck off. Virtually every band on the planet has access to good digital recording equipment. Go to myspace and see for yourself. Find some random, unsigned band and listen to their shit. It will be crystal clear. No one records analog anymore, and its backwards to expect bands to sound shitty when they could sound clear. If you really want an authentic punk sound, buy it on vinyl and listen to it on a record player with a shitty needle. Then punch yourself in the face for being such a dumbfuck fundamentalist. Best songs: Smile on Me, Dead and Gone and Or, Don't You Remember. Mean Streak is catchy, but ultimately, its really a dumb song and has no business on this record.

Intransit
February 10th 2008


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like alot of the songs, but yeah it really could use some rougher production on the whole.

And you can have more ragged production even with the best producers out there today. A Wilhelm Scream's newest is raw as fuck and better off for it.



essenceoftong
November 13th 2011


7 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great album that passes the durability test. sounds better today than on first hearing



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