Monday, September 21, 2009

I Have Suicidal Tendencies, But I Can't Kill Myself ...

Over the last few months, I have been haunted with thoughts of Suicidal Tendencies. It all started when I spun ST's "Free Your Soul ... And Save My Mind" and I haven't stopped listening to the bands discography since then. Suicidal Tendencies are one of my favourite bands who have never disappointed me. "The Art Of Rebellion" is the closest they came, but I grew to appreciate it.

I've done a couple reviews on their thrashier sound here and here, so I thought I'd go back to their roots. Suicidal Tendencies began as a hardcore punk outfit in the early 80's with Cyco Miko being the only remaining member of that era. I was always aware of ST's punky debut and quite familiar with the songs, but I didn't pick up a copy until a couple years ago.

As I've said earlier, I've been on an ST fix lately and have been listening to their self-titled debut continuously. This album has it all from blistering punk songs to slower groove-laden numbers and a handful that encompass both tempos. It also features some classic Suicidal Tendencies with "I Shot Reagan" (or the devil), "I Saw Your Mommy" and "Institutionalized"(recently featured in the movie Iron Man).

The album kicks off with a deliciously insane intro before blasting us with the speedy "Suicides An Alternative/You'll Be Sorry". The latter part of the song slows down with a narrative groove as Mr. Muir tells the devil to screw off. "Two Sided Politics", "Memories Of Tomorrow" and "Fascist Pig" continue the speedy template, but there is an underlying smooth groove which adds to their memorability.

Two of my favourite tracks blend slow groove and pummelling choruses. The first is the iconic "Institutionalized" which treated us to such lyrical gems as ~mom, just get me a Pepsi! Please, all I want is a Pepsi!” And she wouldn't give it to me! All I wanted was a Pepsi, just one Pepsi, and she wouldn't give it to me! Just a Pepsi~ Brilliant stuff and the fact that it's super catchy helps. The other is "I Saw Your Mommy" whose twisted and sick humour was like candy to my teenage ears. This also goes to show that the media can't be blamed for every kids problems. "I Saw Your Mommy" is demented, but I turned out fine.

"I Want More" shows a quieter side to Suicidal Tendencies and shows that Mike Muir can actually sing (And only gets better with each album). My favourite song has to be the hilariously appropriate "Suicidal Failure". It's a mid-paced groove-laden tune about trying to kill ones self and failing. Sounds terrible, but it really is a great song obviously done tongue and cheek.

Why I never had this album earlier is a mystery to me. Perhaps it was my delving into more extreme styles of metal, I don't know. Coming back to this album 20 years later and it is surprisingly refreshing. I have always preferred the thrashier side to ST's music, but this album holds up well.

The same can be said for Suicidal Tendencies last album, the funky-punk inspired "Free Your Soul ... And Save My Mind". Another album that took me a while to warm to. Up next I'll take a look at the crossover gem "Join The Army"

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

We Are The Government! And We Rock 'N' Roll ...

Warrior Soul are another under-rated band, performing darkly bleak rock n roll. Taking the venom of old school punk into the their spirited style of hard rock and we get a hauntingly bleak form of rock sometimes referred to as Acid Punk.

I first heard Warrior Soul with the video of "Wasteland" on the Power Hour on Much Music. I was enthralled by all the bleeps throughout the song as well as thinking Kory Clarke had great hair (and quite possibly the inspiration for me to grow mine out). I picked up "Drugs, God and the New Republic" and was instantly hooked. This is one of my all time favourite albums.

Unlike the bands oppressive debut (which features my favourite Warrior Soul song "Losers") "Last Decade, Dead Century" as well as their 3rd album "Salutations From The Ghetto nation", "Drugs, God and The New Republic" has a more upbeat rock n roll vibe. That's not to say it's poppy. Far from it. This album is bleak and rage-filled. The difference is that "Drugs..." is flat out rock.

Kicking off with the thunderous "Intro" almost hypnotic in its rhythm and we seamlessly transition into the rocker "Interzone". "Rocket 88", "Real Thing" and the standout song "Wasteland" are flat out fist-pumping rock songs. "Wasteland" stands out due to its melodic bridge.

Melody is not sacrificed one bit here. It is interspersed throughout the entire album making every song memorable and adds loads of conviction. The title track, "The Answer" and "Man Must Live As One" are solid examples of good melodic hard rock. "Hero" is as close to a ballad as you'll get here and is passionate music with thoughtful lyrics. The album closer is this albums call to arms. "Children Of The Winter" is a moving piece chalked full of conviction and a poignant way to end the album.

With an album this good how can I pick a favourite track? Obvious choices are the title track whose bleak hooks that are quite moving and "The Wastelands" blend of kick ass rock and passionate melodies. However, the song I tend to repeat is the thunderously dark and super heavy "Jump For Joy". This song could have easily slipped into cheesy territory, but the band pulls it off powerfully.

It's great when I hear a song that I must buy the album for, but rarely does the album blow away that single. Warrior Soul's "Drugs, God And The New Republic" is just that album and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves outstanding and unique rock n roll.