Sound — 10
American Nightmare really set the standard for 21st century Hardcore Punk. This album contains really heavy, fast, memorable and distorted riffs; but American Nightmare weren't just about doing what had been done before. Instead they redefined Hardcore to be more powerful and emotional than it had ever been before, and it's a trait still used in Punk/Hardcore's finest today, such as Gallows, Cancer Bats, Your Demise, Dead Swans etc. If you're a fan of any of those bands, your time and money will be spent well if you check out this album.
Lyrics — 10
Wes Eisold is one of my favorite songwriters of all time. He brings a really poetic element to Hardcore Punk that (correct me if I'm wrong) had never been brought to the table before. He writes songs with all ranges of emotions and intelligence. "I helped this city burn to the f--king ground, they say it tried to make amends but I, never heard a sound" ("Your Arsonist") is probably the most evil thing I've heard sang on a record ever, which still gives me chills every time I hear it. "And if you know what I know, then you know that love is dead" ("(We Are)") is really clever I think, because it's like Wes is letting you in on a secret, by telling you he knows a secret. In terms of his singing, he doesn't really do anything other than yell in a microphone in good Punk Rock fashion; but does it in his own original way, which adds to the band's unique and brilliant sound.
Overall Impression — 10
I got into American Nightmare through a bunch of my favorite bands citing them as an influence, which is why I was surprised that seemingly no one knew who they were, which is a real shame if you ask me, because this cult classic from over a decade ago wipes the floor with 99% of "Hardcore" bands today polluting the scene with cheap breakdowns, overused screaming and idiotic lyrics. What I love about them is that they seem to fit perfectly between Hardcore bands from thirty years ago (Black Flag, Minor Threat), as well as the ones in the past few years (Gallows, Dead Swans). This is my first ever review, I hope it was useful.