Jesus wept. Pretty sure I can feel my hair whitening and falling out as I’m listening to this. Originally released in 1999, American Nervoso is getting the re-release treatment from Hydra Head, and I’m grateful I didn’t hear it the first time around, as it probably would have significantly shortened my lifespan. While it may not be cool to admit, this is the first thing of any duration I’ve heard by these guys, and it’s pretty much a non-stop nail biting session from start to finish. Despite the slim promo packaging (cardboard sleeve with no more info on it than a list of international distributors), the recording’s full to the brim with discordance, punishing rhythms, crazy-ass time signatures, stop-on-a-dime precision and blood-spraying vocals. Including five demo/unreleased tracks, American Nervoso comes out of the stereo like three pots of coffee and a defective, blinking, chirping, about-to-explode Speak’n’Spell. Think Combat Wounded Veteran if they excelled at jazz camp, or the album Robocop would put on if he was trying to get laid. It might sound like I’m talking shit here, but I’m not—especially given the time period in which they were active, I can see why these guys were huge; it’s inventive, dense, frantic, atmospheric shit that current “heavy” bands are obviously using as a blueprint, yet nine times out of ten fail to even come close to. Honestly, it’s a record I don’t plan on listening to that often: I’m rarely feeling pissed-off and crazed enough to match what’s coming out of the speakers.
–keith (Hydra Head)