American Steel - Destroy Their Future (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

American Steel

Destroy Their Future (2007)

Fat Wreck Chords

In the "here today, gone tomorrow" age of music, timing is often everything. For American Steel, truer words may have never been spoken. Formed in 1995 in the famous San Fran Bay Area scene, American Steel quickly carved a name for themselves with their melodically urgent style of intricate anthems and legendary live shows. Between 1998 and 2001 the band managed to release three stellar full-length albums, with the last two, Rouge's March and Jagged Thoughts, heralded by many as under-appreciated classics. After a host of issues, including health, the group disbanded in 2002.

Fast forward to 2007: The band reformed for a hometown reunion show, and rumors swelled of an upcoming new album. Picked up by hometown label Fat Wreck Chords, many wondered if this was just another band trying to milk the proverbial cow. On the contrary, I will make a very bold statement, probably borderline sacrilege to many, and proclaim that Destroy Their Future is the band's most complete, well-crafted and overall best album. Loaded with a plethora of vocal styles, such as the trotting, slurring sing-along in album's opener "Sons of Avarice," to the infectious anthem "Smile on Me," or the driving mid-tempo cut "Or, Don't You Remember," no two tracks sound alike, yet all flow perfectly without any filler.

What stands out most noticeably are the various vocal patterns and harmonies. Going from ballad to shouting melody, "Speak, Oh Heart" captures the band slowing things down, but staying true to the honest essence of the record. Continuing on that very idea, "Razorblades," with its darker verses and tone, further showcases the group's uncanny ability to blast into the inevitable booming chorus -- a constant theme throughout the record.

One of my favorite aspects, aside from everything previously mentioned, is the production. Crisp, clean, yet hardly over-produced, the tone and sound quality perfectly blends everything from intricate guitars, gruff vocals, blended harmonies and blasting choruses. It's a clear example of how a band should sound in the studio to capture the ferocity of a well-respected live show.

Coming back to my initial point of timing, Destroy Their Future is only the latest contribution in a year of great albums placing emphasis on great rock songwriting. Maybe in their earlier days, such art wasn't as respected on the large platform it is now, so it's only fitting of the band to return with such a strong recording. For old or new fans of American Steel, this is essential.