by liam toner (@tonerliam)
When first hearing that Suicidal Tendencies were releasing a new EP, the expectation was a collection of mediocre hardcore punk tracks performed by a cast of past-it middle-aged guys; upon listening, it becomes very quickly apparent that not even those expectations have been met.
Suicidal Tendencies’ golden moment in their long tenure came in the form of their 1983 self-titled album which blended sounds from both the early developing thrash metal movement and the sounds and energy of the American hardcore scene to pioneer the sub genre crossover thrash. The band went on to put out a slew of quality releases through the rest of the 80s and gathered a considerable fan base. Going to hardcore shows today you’re still likely to spot somebody with a trucker cap sporting the word ‘Suicidal’ beneath the visor.
The first glaring issue with this EP right off the bat is that this release clocks in at 45 minutes long, which is an absurd length for an EP. This might not have been so bad if 45 minutes of new Suicidal Tendencies was engaging and interesting, but they dropped the ball on that as well. We, the fortunate listeners, are treated to ten tracks. Two of these tracks (#1 and #4) are re-recordings of songs from vocalist Mike Muir’s 90s solo project Cyco Miko, the 6th track is a Stooges’ cover and the last four tracks are all different versions of the same song. This leaves us with three new, original tracks not including the four versions of Get Your Fight On.
The opening track Nothing to Lose is the strongest track on here for sure. It’s a high energy slice of crossover thrash with some really solid riffing and lead guitar work that, on the first listen, raises hopes for the EP actually being not too bad before progressively nose diving as it continues on. The only issue with this particular track, however, was some of the cheesy “let’s go let’s go” backing vocals.
Unfortunately, Nothing to Lose is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cheesy vocals and lyrics. The subsequent two tracks consist mostly of mid-tempo funk rock grooves allowing members of the band to rap over, which lets the cringe-worthy lyrics really shine through. There’s just something inherently silly about a bunch of middle aged guys writing childish lyrics about not taking shit from anyone and hating authority, but you’ll find plenty of that on here. The most cringe-inducing song on the EP is definitely Ain’t Messing Around and although you can see the band were trying to come across as inspiring and free thinking, the result was a lot more unintentionally hilarious than the band would have planned.
When Dave Lombardo’s name appears on the drumming credits for this Suicidal Tendencies release, it’s hard not to get excited to see what he would bring to the table. Lombardo played on all of Slayer’s classic 80s albums where he set the stage for how most drummers in thrash metal would play, as well as solidifying himself as one of the most influential metal drummers of all time. Unfortunately, though, his talents can’t make up for some of the lacklustre songwriting on the EP. As mentioned earlier, the second half of the EP features 4 versions of the same song. Two feature different vocals, while one is just a backing track for a four minute bass solo and the other for an equally long guitar solo. It’s mind boggling to think why the band decided putting all four of these tracks on here would be a good idea. All they do is bore the listener beyond belief and take the EP up to a ridiculous 45 minute run time.
Despite Suicidal Tendencies being a band of very talented musicians, what they have put out here is awfy disappointing – featuring sub par songs, cringe-inducing lyrics and instilling an overall feeling of boredom on the listener.