For a style built on eardrum-blasting guitars, thundering rhythms, and teenage male fantasies of cars, swords, and sex bombs, metal has lost its sense of fun. Not that art can't fit amongst power chords, but it wouldn't emasculate the practitioners of head-banging to crack a smile. Happily, Austin's American Sharks provide the antidote to a mob of grimacing heshers with its self-titled debut. Heavy metal soul, stoner rock brains, and a punk rock heart, the fast-rising power trio yells and pounds its way through rollicking nuggets of crushed concrete and dirty steel. Bassist/vocalist Mike Hardin, guitarist Will Ellis (part Tony Iommi, part "Fast" Eddie Clarke), and drummer Nick Cornetti sound like they're having the time of their lives shoving needles into the red with "Indian Man," "Overdrive," and the almost serious "Demon With Glass Sword." "Freak out, freak out, freak out, freak out!," declares Hardin on the eponymous tune, and the band's sentiments run no deeper than that. Nor do they need to. American Sharks kicks out the jams like a toddler demolishing a sand castle – out of sheer glee.
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