The American Plague – God Bless – CD
(Long Live Crime Records) My first thoughts on hearing this music were “wow, this music is primal!” and “is their cover of perennial Motorhead fave “Ace of Spades” worth it?” The answer to both is a very aggressive yes…even though the first one wasn’t actually a question.
I’ve never heard of The American Plague, and neither have you, but they make the kind of music that would fit just fine were it played by the bar-band in some steamy post-apocalyptic cyberpunk film set in the Arizona desert. This is fine, fine hard rock music; it doesn’t sound like they’re trying to be anybody else, like so much of the schlocky garbage out there ruining teenagers’ CD collections these days. The vocals are processed with some fairly subtle but decidedly futuristic chorusing or delay effect, right on time and on the mark pitch-wise. The drums are propelling and furious. The bass playing is nothing incredible but it keeps the whole thing grounded quite solidly. The guitar work is similarly nothing to write home about (though often the riffage is fantastic nonetheless, such as on the incredible “War Song”), yet it’s energetic and fun and the sound is very nicely raw and edgy, capturing a great rocka-row vibe the whole time.
This is a band which straddles that fine line between hard rock and heavy metal with aplomb. Interestingly, their southern-fried maniacal jams never once hint at has-been Freebird-rock, instead churning out fiery Thin Lizzy, Motorhead and AC/DC -inspired heavy rock power-chords, blues-tinted E- and A- string riffs, and frenetic double-stops that would make rockabilly outlaws like Gene Vincent proud.
Not the most memorable band ever, though. As tight and intense as they are, the best that you’ll be able to remember about them is that their licks smelled just like gasoline. I’d give it a hearty 6-and-a-half out of 10, and I eagerly anticipate the future offerings of this exciting band.
As for the “Ace of Spades” cover? It sounds like a lost track from the Heavy Metal soundtrack: doomed-out space-metal with truly warped vocal echo punctuating the mix. One to hear.
– Jeremy Mutant (2006)