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Dreadnaught - The American Standard CD (album) cover

THE AMERICAN STANDARD

Dreadnaught

Eclectic Prog


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5 stars "And now for something completely different..." Introducing the best band you've never heard in your life, Dreadnaught. This musically insane 3-piece band hails from New England, (New Hampshire to be exact), and has unleashed a sound and style on an unsuspecting prog world that will not just knock your socks off, it will blow them across the room. They have been described as "Yes meets Zappa at Willie Nelson's BBQ" and "King Crimson at a hoedown." The band itself has proclaimed their style as "prog-a-billy." And for all you old-school-I-heard-it-all-before prog heads out there, let me make this clear...you ain't ever heard nuthin' like 2001's THE AMERICAN STANDARD before! This largely instrumental, endlessly fascinating CD features chainsaw-fuzzball basslines driving diverse and complex compositions with all the subtlety of a good olde-fashioned Blitzkrieg, interweaving with usually clean, unusually intricate, eccentric guitar parts and rock solid drumming. The album starts out with BALLBUSTER, an aptly titled, out-of-control exercise in sonic acrobatics and dynamics that'll have you giggling like a little school girl as it slams you to the floor and doesn't let you go . And that's just the beginning. The 4 part, 20 minute opus DEUS EX MACHINA starts out innocently enough with a Stray-Cats-on-acid melody that soon rockets into the stratosphere with a bassline from country bumpkin hell, groovy guitars, bouncy pianos, and more rhythmic and melodic changes than you can shake a fist at. But it's not all in-your-face thunder. THE AMERICAN STANDARD possesses a dynamic that the Crimson King himself would be fond of! The quiet and subtle beauty of DERBY DAYS, and the quasi-techno sound and feel of DENEB, sound right at home beside the sonic fury of JAMES THRESHER INDUSTRIES, the latter of which features multiple kazoo parts. BUNNASCHIDT is a beautifully constructed tune that could be played at a QUALITY alternative station, if one exists, and features a la-la-la (literally) chorus that is guaranteed to get stuck in your head for days.CLOWNHEAD features an opening guitar riff so greasy, it should just slide out of your speakers and fall on the floor. This is one of those albums that will grow on you. All killer, no filler. Melody after melody will start to tattoo themselves to your brain. You will hear new things with every listen...slithering violin parts, multiple time signatures played simultaneously a la Zappa, nuances and interactions between musicians who favor integrity over commercialism, even some goofy lyrics and a CD cover featuring a previously unpublished piece of art by the brothers Hildebrandt. This is 55 minutes of pure fun!

And now for the bad news... unfortunately, you can't just walk into any record store and find THE AMERICAN STANDARD. Your best bet is to go to dreadnaughtrock.com, redfezrecords.com, ZNRcds.com or cdbaby.com to get a hold of this state-of-the-art 21st Century Schizoid band. Just do it! You will NOT be disappointed!

Report this review (#27241)
Posted Saturday, February 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
Steve Hegede
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars DREADNAUGHT is a relatively new 3-piece American band. They consider themselves a "Progabilly" band, but their music bursts with dozens of different musical styles. The most noticeable influence in this band is PHISH. DREADNAUGHT seem to have been influenced especially by JUNTA-era PHISH, back when PHISH wasn't afraid of creating complex progressive music and Trey Anastasio loved to sing about all sorts of oddball topics. Guitarist Justin S. Walton has studied Trey's guitar style well, yet he takes that style to a new level with all sorts of schizo-guitar runs/licks, interesting chordal shapes, and avant-garde jazz-guitar techniques. He very often jumps, as a loose example, from Anastasio/Howe-like Rockabilly vamps, to dark KING CRIMSON-ish guitar licks, and then finishes the theme with a gentle Django-esque acoustic guitar melody. This is some of the best guitar work that I've heard in years. Another influence that comes to my mind, when listening to Justin's guitar work, is the HAMPTON GREASE BAND. If you are familiar with this incredible southern American prog band, Justin's guitar style is like a modern version of Glenn Phillip's style on that album. The other two main musicians in DREADNAUGHT are also worth mentioning. Bassist Robert Lord adds some rather unique bass work all over the album. I can't really compare him to anyone else, but his presence is heard throughout the CD due to all sorts of cool sound-effects and bass licks. Drummer Richard Habib somehow keeps up with the two other guys by playing non-cliched grooves, and very often matches complicated melodies note-for-note. The music, as I mentioned, is well-balanced and features all sorts of styles (some surprising styles too). This band loves to play complicated PHISH/HAMPTON GREASE BAND-like sections of music that are sometimes as frantic as some of YEZDA URFA's music on "Sacred Baboon". I even hear a subtle hint of RIO (5UU'S, UNIVERS ZERO, and HENRY COW) in some sections. But these guys also like to sing poppier, yet oddball, songs that could definitely get airplay on a college radio station. Overall, though, the catchy vocal-based tunes balance out the crazier instrumental moments on the CD. Once in a while, violin, piano, flute, and even French Horn are added to various tracks. Some of those guest musicians add interesting colors to the arrangements; especially the violinist who reminds a bit of Stephan Grapelli. Anyway, "American Standard" is killer. I'm not sure what neo-prog, and sympho-prog fans are going to think of it, but if you love early PHISH, the HAMPTON GREASE BAND, Trey Anastasio's poppier song writing, Steve HOWE's rockabilly influences, YEZDA URFA's instrumental sections, then you will definitely love the music here. Okay, I think I'm going to pick up my guitar now, and try to figure out what the hell Justin is doing on most of this album.
Report this review (#27242)
Posted Monday, March 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sagichim
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars I wish this was the american standard!

Did you know that this masterpiece exist? Where great known bands from each genre here gets their fair share of reviews, some bands are left aside and does not get promoted. I would rate Dreadnaught the no.1 overlooked band here at PA, taking into consideration the amount of reviews they got against music quality. Dreadnaught are not new in the prog biz, 'The American Standard' is their third album and their first to go all the way to heavy funky prog rock town. They are a 3 man totally insane american band who seem to be exploring a niche that no man have gone before, although sometimes remind in spirit bands like Primus or Phish. Their music on this album can be described as avant-garde country funk prog rock ( yes it's a genre now! ). But actually describing their sound and music with words is useless cause it seems they are coming from out of space. Basses and electric guitar sound is totally refreshing, they have that crisp sound of new strings on your guitar only enhanced and distorted. guitarist Justin Walton comes out with some weird noises in addition to some groovy fast guitar licks, he does not have to solo because he's guitar is already doing so much, moving from strange chords to quirky runs, always with such great taste and totally rocky too. Bassist Bob Lord comes out too with sounds from hell, he's playing is always noticeable and is a crucial part of the overall psycho sound, together they are incomparable. Drummer Rick Habib has no problem keeping up with his two buddies and adds some great fills along with the off beat rhythm they are creating.

The music like i said has a southern US feel, very complex and progressive moving from beautiful melodic parts to avant-garde to hard rocking funk stuff and punky outbursts coming from god knows where, everything is well balanced and there is no way to know where they gonna go next, one moment they are dark sounding and the other they are the happiest band alive. The album starts out with Ballbuster which is an accurate title for the nuclear bomb dropped on your ears, a full power high voltage rocky tune that grabs you and doesn't let you go leaving you uncertain of what the hell just happened, and in the same time so intrigued to continue. As good as the opener was it doesn't really prepare you to the next exhilarating, brilliant 20 minute piece, divided into 4 parts that takes you on a journey incorporating all of those styles mentioned before. The piece is very dynamic and holds lighter parts against heavy complex rhythms, reminding you some wacky King Crimson Red era fused with Zappa that will make you drool all over the floor. I mean a band that takes some disco beats and turns them into prog rock got to be special enough. The rest of the album continues in that line taking you on a roller coaster of sounds and intricate out of this world tunes, as they incorporate violin and piano notes just too be sure you are still on the train. Vocals seem to be goofy sometimes but sound good and side by side with the already crazy music. It's interesting that the music has a light feel to it but it's all serious too.

Knowing this album for a few years now makes me realize that i haven't heard something so challenging and invigorating in 20 years ( except for a very few albums maybe ) , while other bands are playing it safe and releases the same album over and over again, Dreadnaught seem to remind everybody what's progressive rock is all about, taking all the risks and coming out with an album full of new ideas and sounds. Every genre has to evolve except progressive rock is a statement taken by the band and crushed to pieces. Being compared to other bands doesn't really do it cause dreadnaught is on their own. Their next album 'Musica En Flagrante' see the band evolve further more and is worth checking out too. This is one of the few albums i would rate with 5+ stars along with other masterpieces of the genre. The very high rating for the album is accurate, an essential masterpiece of progressive rock, don't miss it for the world!

Report this review (#708786)
Posted Thursday, April 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
ProgShine
COLLABORATOR
Errors & Omissions Team
5 stars Last year I got a package from Dreadnaught containing their most recent EP (Have A Drink With Dreadnaught, reviewed here: progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=1088015) and their classic album The American Standard (2001). The low point is that both were cardboard envelopes, but the music, oh the music!

Have A Drink With Dreadnaught (2013) is an amazing collection of 5 VERY different songs. So I was a bit excited to try out The American Standard (2001). And oh boy, what an album!

Is VERY hard to point a finger on what Dreadnaught did here, IT IS Prog, but at the same time is crazy and full of every genre you could possibly imagine. There's a sense of urgency in the album, a sense of limitless music, a fearless attempt of doing something different, unusual and out of the ordinary. The American Standard (2001) is Progressive in the true sense of the word.

The trio formed by Robert M. Lord (bass, synthesizer and background vocals), Richard R. Habib (drums, percussion and vocals) and Justin S. Walton (electric and acoustic guitars, piano, saxophone, organ and vocals) entered to the hall of my favorite bands. Now I'll go straight to Musica En Flagrante (2004) without any trace of hesitation. HIGHLY recommended! By the way, you can listen/buy all of their albums on their Bandcamp: dreadnaughtmusic.bandcamp.com/

Report this review (#1141967)
Posted Wednesday, March 5, 2014 | Review Permalink
Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars US band DREADNAUGHT has been a going concern ever since 1996, with a live album, an EP and a double CD compilation to their name in addition to four full-length studio productions. "The American Standard" is their third studio album, initially issued in 2001. Five years later the Russian label MALS reissued the album, and then the US label Red Fez Records released it for a third run in 2013.

At the end of the day I'll have to conclude that age has been kind to this production as well. This album is 14 years old at the time of writing, and yet it still comes across as a solid and fresh creation. Not one that will entice any broad audience segment, as this is demanding music, but those with an interest in music that is undeniably challenging, innovative and spirited should give this band and this album an inspection. A certain affection for Americana will probably be an advantage to be able to enjoy this CD, although I don't regard this as a requirement as such.

Report this review (#1356947)
Posted Thursday, January 29, 2015 | Review Permalink

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