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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
American Draft
Hawk
CoachHouse Collective

Rating: 8.3/10 ?


April 14, 2009
When your everyday job has you on the computer all day long talking about music, it takes something significant to want to write a 400-word after-hours album review in your downtime. American Draft is an instrumental metal/heavy indie rock band that I've been following for a few years, and with a recent release entitled Hawk the band have again drawn my full attention, so much so that I feel compelled to spread word of their prowess to others.

Throughout their two-album career the Chicago four piece hasn't really re-invented the metal wheel in any way, but they have become a personal favorite due in large part to their eccentric, Zappa-esque attitude towards music: have fun and make jams while doing it. The band first made their mark several years ago with their tongue-in-cheek double-album debut, Volumes II:III, a couple dozen songs that exhibited the quartet's technicality, sense of humor, and genre versatility. But where Volumes II:III touched on many stylistic points, it also failed in terms of relentlessness by not always going for the jugular in the way that makes most imposing metal bands exceptional. Hawk is a more succinct effort -- a single disc that runs just over 40 minutes -- and gets to the point without leaving too much fat on the bone.

Hawk is interestingly bookended with two droning, partially free-ranging stoner rock pieces, the title track and "Rise of Man," which combine to give the album a free-flowing, almost jammy (think Black Sabbath vamps, not Phish noodlings) intro/outro aesthetic. In between the warm up and cool down exercises are six songs loaded with proggy hooks, pick harmonics squeals, breakneck punk rock-slash-speed-slash-thrash-slash-heavy metal drum batterings, and 30 seconds of shrieked vocals. I like all of those things.

Though loaded to the brim throughout, Hawk is best characterized by its second track, "Diet of Worms," which moves between varied tempos and temperaments and in the end pays off with a palm-muted, fist-pump inducing, chugging breakdown. There is something about "Diet of Worms" that conjures visions of the first waves of metal and grunge bands, and the rawness that they could bring to a rock genre that had gone stale with the homogenization of CD sales and radio play. It is that spirit of nostalgic freshness that makes Hawk such a satisfying listen.

Reviewed by Josh Zanger
Joshua Ian Zanger, a native of rural Chicago, rocks many a world with his writing, style, and generally sweet aroma.

See other reviews by Josh Zanger

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