The American Nightmare

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, the dread echoes of nu-metal come shaking and breaking their way across the great plains like so many brain-starved zombies, courtesy of Lincoln, NE's Dirtfedd, whose rookie release, The American Nightmare, was rather tellingly co-produced by none other than that Clown guy from Slipknot (M. Shawn Crahan, to his lawyer friends). Although, to be fair, Dirtfedd's intensely rhythmic, oftentimes rap-laden, and frequently blunt-riffed sonic assaults also boast innumerable influences drawn from outside the outdated qualities espoused by those largely reviled '90s offenders like Coal Chamber, Limp Bizkit, and of course, early Slipknot. There's vocalist Dustin Travels' occasional ascent into screamo-like registers, for instance, followed by surprisingly genial clean singing choruses; there's the alternately thrashing staccato riffs, chugging death metal chords, and neck-snapping metalcore breakdowns of guitarists Eric Marshall and Brian Luginbill, aided and abetted at all times by the Scott Root and Brock Wettstead rhythm section; and there's the rare but still unlikely sweeping keyboards of Travis Wagner, who, ten years earlier, would surely have been limited exclusively to scratching his ass off (well his turntables, actually). The end result is, by and large, as chaotic and confusing as it is unquestionably eclectic, and almost convincing were it not for the group's foolhardy description of their sound as "boozecore" (going so far as to adopt the following slogan: "Drink/Fight/F**k/Salute!"), which effectively nullifies Clown's attempts to equate The American Nightmare to "high art." Fans of the movie Natural Born Killers (and frat house metal) might understand where Dirtfedd and their benefactor are coming from, though...God bless!

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