Courtesy: EMP Label Group
The nu-metal world has a new name for everyone to check out.
American Terror officially released is debut album Influence Friday. The 10-song record is an interesting presentation from the newest addition to Megadeth bassist David Ellefson’s EMP Label Group. It is a record whose musical arrangements will appeal widely to audiences. It will be discussed shortly. While the record’s musical content works to its benefit, the arrangements’ accompanying lyrical content proves to be a slightly detrimental aspect to the album’s presentation. This will be discussed a little later. While the lyrical content detracts somewhat from the record’s presentation, they do not make the album a failure. The album’s sequencing works with its musical content to make up for the setback caused by the lyrical content. It will also be discussed later. When it is considered with the musical and lyrical content, all three elements make Influencer a work that will definitely have a varied influence in audiences.
Independent rock band American Terror’s debut album Influencer is a record that is worth at least one listen by its targeted audiences. It is a record that will appeal to said listeners in part because of its musical arrangements. The heavy, guitar-driven arrangements and even scratches in some of the songs fit the band’s sound in with the nu-metal bands that rose to prominence during the late 90s and early 2000s. That nu-metal sound comes right in the album’s outset in the song ‘Judgement.’ The use of the scratches, the guitars and the drums couples with the vocals of front man Brad Cox to give the song’s arrangement a sound that lends itself to comparisons to works from Limp Bizkit. The song’s lyrical content adds to that comparison and will be discussed later. ‘The Threat’ is another example of how the album’s musical content will appeal to American Terror’s focused audiences. Unlike the album’s opener – but also like that song – this song also presents a distinct nu-metal sound. In this case, that sound can be somewhat likened to material from the likes of Nonpoint. That is evident in Cox’s vocal delivery just as much as it is through Pat Valley’s work on guitar and Rob Hammersmith’s work behind the kit. What audiences will like here is that despite the comparison, the members of American Terror did not just try to duplicate the sound of the noted influence, but rather used said influence to create its own unique sound. ‘Break Free’ is another example of how the band’s album will appeal to nu-metal fans through its musical arrangements. This song can be likened to works from Papa Roach. When it is considered along with the other songs noted here, other featured songs, such as ‘People.’ ‘Retribution’ and ‘Prophet For Profit,’ and the rest of the album’s works, the whole of the album’s musical content makes the record a work that the noted audiences will enjoy if only for the musical content.
The musical arrangements that make up the body of Influencer do their own part to make the album live up to its title. It will definitely influence its target audience in a positive way. As much good as the album’s musical content does for its presentation, its lyrical content tends to detract from that presentation. That is because, as noted, this record is fueled by so much anger and adrenaline. Now given, Rage Against The Machine front man Zach De La Rocha is known for his famous line, “Your anger is a gift,” but at the same time, there is such thing as too much of a good thing, and this record is an overload of anger and adrenaline. There is also a certain amount of divisiveness as the album reaches its finale, ‘PC Me.’ It’s possible that Cox is spoofing perhaps Donald Trump here, but if not then his statements about how America has become too politically correct is certain to ruffle some feathers. He notes in the song’s lead verse, “I don’t care anymore/I’m tired of catering to everyone’s feelings/I’m sick and tired of complaints/I’m sick and tired of restraints/I’m fed up with all your b****ing and crying/The only one to blame is you/For insecurities that’s eating you/Stop being so soft and sensitive/tired of staying quiet to hide our differences/I don’t wanna be silenced anymore/Go ahead/Cast stones on me.” He adds in the song’s chorus, “Don’t try to PC me/I have the right to my own opinions/We’re not a PC world/Step up/Be real/Don’t be afraid of how you feel/Don’t you PC me.” From there, Cox goes on to state in the song’s second verse, “I’m gonna say what I want/I don’t care if my words offend you/Can’t take a joke anymore/Without everyone being so serious/Everyone’s a f***** stereotype/We’re just too afraid to say it, right?/Call it race/Call it class/Call it gender/No one’s superior/But no one’s equal/Sticks and stones/Yeah, they break bones/if words hurt you/You’re a p****/It’s time to grow some thicker skin.” Again, this song is certain to be divisive and a detriment to the album’s presentation.
It’s just one of the ways in which the album’s lyrical content, which is so full of anger, tends to detract from its presentation. ‘She’s a B****’ finds the song’s subject ranting about a broken relationship, calling the woman in the broken relationship an outright slur, as well as equating the woman to “a loaded gun.” Given, some relationships are that way, however, the outright language is another no-holds barred statement from the band that is likely to cause its own share of division. Cox writes of the woman in the song’s chorus, “She’s a b****/But I couldn’t live without her/She’s f****** me in my brain.” This is only a portion of the picture. Cox sings of that woman in the song’s lead verse, “She makes up stories in her head/And go tells everyone/With every game, she breaks the rules/To make sure that I lose/The only knot I want to tie is the one that makes a noose/She’s doing coke and other drugs/That make her dead inside/She’s got me climbing up the walls/Like there’s no place to hide/I’ve tried to leave her/But she’s always threatening suicide/That’s right.” Now given, the song’s subject has every right to be angry in such a situation. He is tied to a woman who is a drug addict and extremely controlling. The thing is though, did the song’s subject ever try to get help for that woman? By doing nothing but complaining about the situation and the woman and pointing out everything going on, the subject comes across as little more than a whiner.
This is just one more work whose lyrical content proves detrimental to the album. ‘People’ is another example of the problems posed by the record’s lyrical themes. This song is another straight forward work, but is just as negative as the rest of the album. The group sings in the song’s chorus, “People piss me off.” He goes on in the song’s second verse about his troubled childhood, dropping out of school “because it wasn’t for me” and about “getting my way without kissing you’re a**.” The rest of the song follows in very similar fashion, lyrically speaking. It’s just the view of self reliance, true, but the delivery is the problem. It comes across as coming from someone with a much younger mindset who has not yet found peace with himself.
Staying on that note, there is some strong content that does help the album, such as in ‘Judgement’ in which Cox addresses the so-called Christians who are the first to cast those proverbial stones and the people in general who are so quick to judge. This is handled well. ‘Denial,’ the album’s second song, take on someone who is fighting drug addiction and the frustration felt by those addicts who claim they want to get better, but don’t walk the walk. The thing here is that what is expressed here is not something that someone who cares would ever actually say to an addict in an intervention. So again, here we have an issue with the content. It is relatable, but is a bit heavy-handed to say the least.
Getting back to the positive, ‘How Do You Like Me Now’ will definitely prove beneficial to the album’s presentation through it’s no nonsense presentation, taking on the nay sayers and bullies who would try to kick you when you’re down. ‘Retribution’ meanwhile, seems to take on the matter of the Second Amendment and supports the right to bear arms. This is sure to bring about its own share of discussion and possibly even division. ‘The Threat’ is another protest song a la Rage Against The Machine’ while ‘Prophet for Profit’ takes on the religious institution albeit justifiably. This is one matter in which most listeners will agree. ‘Break Free’ comes across as taking on the issue of social media, which has been done plenty of times before by other acts.
Looking back through this, yes there is some positive, but there is also a lot of content that is certain to prove detrimental to the record’s presentation. There is also a lot of pure, unbridled anger from start to end. That unbridled anger clearly leads to a lack of filter with any of the songs. That in itself will make the album appealing to a very targeted audience. Considering this along with the album’s overall musical content, the album proves that its content will help its appeal, but at the same time, will also limit that appeal. Keeping that in mind, again, the record is a good start for American Terror, but will certainly have a varied influence in itself on audiences.
For all of the mixed impact that Influencer’s lyrical content is sure to create for its presentation, it doesn’t make the album a total failure. The album’s sequencing couples with its arrangements to add to the album’s enjoyment. From start to end of its 31-minute run, the album’s arrangements never once let up on the energy. From the full-on fist-pump-inducement of its opener to the Pennywise-esque sound and energy of ‘People’ to the fiery energy in ‘The Threat’ to the unbridled energy in ‘PC Me,’ every single song boasts its own energy. Even as one song ends and the next begins, the spacing is just enough to let audiences catch their breath and prepare for the next adrenaline-fueled musical assault. In other words, the record will keep listeners engaged and entertained from start to end thanks to its combined sequencing and arrangements. While they take in the record’s musical content, its lyrical content will engage listeners just as much. However, it might also limit the album’s appeal. To that end, American Terror’s debut album proves itself to be a work whose own influence will be limited.
American Terror’s debut album Influencer is an interesting first outing for the band, which is the latest addition to David Ellefson’s EMP Label Group. That is because its musical arrangements and sequencing will keep audiences engaged and entertained from beginning to end. As audiences take in each song, the unbridled anger and aggression expressed through the songs’ lyrical content may leave listeners divided. Even with that in mind, the album is still worth hearing at least once. Of course in hearing the album’s lyrical content, the album still proves to be a work whose influence is going to be limited, even despite the positive impact of the album’s musical content. It proves itself a record that is worth at least an occasional listen. The album is available now. More information on Influencer is available along with all of American Terror’s latest news at:
To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.