In 2014, american were releasing their debut album, Coping with Loss, through Sentient Ruin Laboratories, combining black metal and sludge with a noise and industrial perspective. This has not been a new trend in extreme metal, with acts like Full of Hell and The Body performing similar alchemical experiments. In the three year time lapse between Coping with Loss and their new album, Violate and Control, american worked on their sound, delving deeper into this experimental tradition in order to rise back to the surface with a gem.
In Violate and Control, american leaves behind their sludge influence. Heavy riffs and slower grooves are still present, providing a funereal feeling in tracks like “Bedsheet Ossuary,” the monstrous “Defecting Ways” or the blackened sludge of “I Am Thine Enemy.” All these tracks are excellent specimen of how versatile their sound is, and how they can move on a different pace, calling upon the spirit of The Body. But, there is a different path to nihilism that overwhelms this record, and that is through the black metal sound.
The volatility and ferocity of black metal, especially the USBM scene, merges perfectly with the industrial and noise elements that american invokes. On one hand, they are able to retain a primal iconography associated with the genre, as at times an epic feeling arises, in “Bedsheet Ossuary” and the background of “Amorous and Subdued.” What is even more impressive is the manner in which the additional influences compliment and work with the black metal core. The noise element is suffocating, focusing more on the asphyxiation of the soundscapes rather than crafting sonic textures, completely harsh and unyielding. On the other end, the industrial dimension binding a cold, detached element through the mechanized percussion and dystopian visions, leads to strange hybrid states, of electronic black metal malice.
Violate and Control is a record that aims for the primal and the animalistic. In order to get to that point one needs to go through a process of complete nihilism, forcing the sounds of the record to become as extreme and as vulgar as possible, taking on a devastating form. Noise elements are not simply an additional layer to this work, but rather they become an all-devouring force. The black metal core is brought to an inharmonious zenith, while at the same time the industrial element is taken to such an extent as to drain the last drop of humanities through the record’s core.
The most shining example of american’s perspective, and their nihilistic viewpoint is conjured in the album’s longest track, “Amorous and Subdued.” Through its nine minutes, american display an exquisite craftsmanship and channel a monstrous aggression. It might appear to be a simple connection, adding industrial and noise to black metal, since it has been applied to other genres as well – but that does not make it an easy one. This is what american do so convincingly. They retreat to the core, allowing the music to travel back to its origin, its most primal state, and capture it then and there.