American Steel - Jagged Thoughts (Cover Artwork)

American Steel

Jagged Thoughts (2001)


Wow, what an amazing record. To be honest, I have not been listening to that much straight up punk rock lately. I am a big fan of the last two American Steel full lengths, and I was hoping this would be the album that would remind me what good things could still be done in the punk genre.

To my suprise, this is not a very "punk" record. This is a very different A.S. record. Much slower tempo generally, which caught me off guard on the first listen. But after a few more spins, I realized that this disc is pure gold. American Steel used to have a rough Choking Victim/Rancid ska-punk sound, but this album is a lot slower and really, really.....pretty?! Yes, it is pretty. The first two songs, "Shrapnel" and "New Religion" are mid tempo sensitive songs, with bursts of guitar crunch letting you know that these guys arent trying to be another sissy weepy rock band. They are simply expanding their sound, and it really works. The next track is called "Rainy Day" and it is very slow and dreamy, with a fazing chorus hook that will give you chills. Goddamn, this entire record is so good. I've heard critizism that this album is too pop, but that is fucking garbage. They haven't gone pop. I'm sure American Steel knew that some people would have trouble adjusting to their new sound, but they had the balls to follow through and make something beautiful.

Don't worry though, "Jagged Thoughts" still has some classic raw American Steel sound to it. Songs like, "There's A New Life", "Maria" and "Turn It Out" would fit on "The Rogue's March" easily. If you are looking for a record that is diverse, well composed and written maturely do yourself a favor and get, "Jagged Thoughts". One of my top picks for 2001.