So I’ve come full-circle. The first review I ever wrote for this fine publication was on Strung Out’s last EP “The Element of Sonic Defiance” and here I am with their first full-length since 1998’s “Twisted By Design”. Thankfully, Strung Out has got that experimental metal stuff from “Element” out of their system this time around, instead fusing Jason’s beautifully raw vocals with the trademark sound that has elevated them to their current status as Lord And Ruler of the Powerpunk Universe. “American Paradox” is a little harsher than their earlier LPs, less melodic than “Twisted” and heavier than “Suburban Teenage Wasteland”, yet never fails to deliver the requisite harmonies and driving beats we all expect. Led by Jake and Rob’s soaring, snarling guitars, Jason’s effervescent baritone slides easily above and below the chords, creating an undeniable dynamic imitated (poorly) by virtually every up-and-coming “melodic hardcore” band playing at the club down your street. While “American Paradox” lacks the jaw-dropping anthem single such as ‘Bring Out Your Dead’ and ‘Mind of My Own’ found on their earlier releases, the album will nevertheless remain firmly lodged in your stereo for some time to come. Strung Out is on tour this summer with Poison the Well and Rise Against, so make sure to catch a show so you’ll have something to tell your grandkids about. And now that I think about it, I really haven’t gone full-circle, have I? Full-circle implies some sort of end, and even though they’ve been at it for a decade, it’s safe to say Strung Out has just hit their stride.