Released: 2009, Sopra Evil Records/Koch Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
With so many outstanding releases hitting the streets in 2009 already, I was beginning to worry that there might be a lack of juvenile, recycled metalcore to wade through. Upon listening to the debut release from Nebraska’s Dirtfedd, aptly titled THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE, I can thankfully announce “crisis averted.” The band was discovered by none other than “Clown” from Slipknot and signed to his Sopra Evil label, with a distribution deal through Koch Records. A word of caution – Most physicians recommend taking some kind of hormonal supplement before listening to Dirtfedd, as the level of testosterone present on THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE is so ridiculously over the top it’s bound to cause an imbalance.
Dirtfedd have opted to capitalize on the frat boy niche in the metal scene. As if Americans hadn’t suffered enough of a global image problem over the last 8 years, Dirtfedd deliver 11 songs that cover such topics as drinking, fighting terrorists, more drinking, and threatening to kill your cheating lover with a shotgun. The songs are typical “chugga chugga” riffs and shouted rants, supported by the addition of a full time keyboard player. The keyboard player thing would be a big deal if it wasn’t 2009 and we hadn’t heard keyboards in metal before. “Salute” is the album opener and first single (a video is on the way), declaring the band’s mantra of “Drink/Fight/Fuck/Salute!” Heads up boys, GG Allin did the whole “DFF” thing 20 some years ago and was much more convincing than the chest puffing displayed here. “Blues” is an instrumental intended to show the rootsier side of the band, but sounds out of place and uninspired. “Shotgun Romance” is the aforementioned girlfriend killer, with such insightful lyrics as “You broke my heart/now I’ll break your face.” Real nice, nothing proves you’re a tough guy like acts of domestic violence. “War Criminal” promises to swap due process for reactionary violence and to “Give them what they deserve.” “Wasted” closes the album with another song about getting trashed, because apparently one drinking song wasn’t enough to get their point across. At the close of the song, there’s a bizarre answering machine message from a guy proclaiming to be a “White Dude in the Ghetto” who compares the action of a Dirtfedd show to that of a Nascar race. Oddly enough, this is the most entertaining part of the whole disc.
I’m not opposed to the party rock thing. Bands like Murphy’s Law, Gang Green, and Municipal Waste have all played that card for years and create a fun, raucous atmosphere with the results. Dirtfedd comes across as obnoxious and desperate, like the jock in high school that always had to tell you what a bad ass he was. There will always be an audience for this kind of music and if you can get past the base level performances, THE AMERICAN NIGHTMARE is a barely passable platter of pit-friendly tunes. Beyond that, this is one nightmare that you’ll hopefully wake from quickly.