NY’s Sick of it all celebrate their 20th anniversary in 2006 with their 8th studio album, a follow-up to 2004’s “Outtakes of the Outcast” (which included covers and rare tracks), “Death To Tyrants” in such a majestic way, leaving you beaten and open-jawed… this is NY Hardcore.
“Take the night off” is a solid opener which shows exactly why this four piece has been around for so long, it is followed by the suitably titled “Machete” with its more notable bassline and overall greater speed and force (especially in the drumbeats).
The next track, “Preamble”, is a bass/drum led intro - with samples of screams and a couple of lines from a speech (is that George Bush?) alongside some distortion squeaks - to “Uprising Nation”, somewhat of a title track here…a more stripped down and thus more accessible song; nevertheless, this is still pretty rough, I can almost imagine Pete Koller (SOIA’s guitarist) frowning.
Speaking of Pete Koller, his non-compromising guitar work throughout the album is quite an achievement regardless of any facial expressions; the best track guitar-wise must be “Always War”, with the thrash and crossover elements added in.
The speed of this album is yet another achievement, you’re left with almost no time to breathe, tracks like “Leader” and “Forked Tongue” blast in with little warning and cause unrepairable damage.
Other highlights are “Make a mark” (which is NY-Hardcore by the book), “Sodom” with its sharp riffs and bombastic drumwork, and “Thin Skin” that is the best track on the album in my opinion; on “Thin Skin” Armand Majidi (drums) really manages to throw you around with tempo changes that sound natural enough yet not obvious.
After this album’s badass finish, with the scream-your-throat-to “Maria White Trash”, some might be left with either no after taste or not enough after taste; SOIA do what they know and they do it well, but stick to their own guns and don’t add new elements (be it through styles or be it through sound) so it can come off as a bit too generic.
“Death To Tyrants” certainly has its moment, so perhaps it can be a good micro cosmos to this band’s existance so far… having both ups and downs, with highlights and lowpoints but an overall message that they don’t give a fuck. They will keep doing what they want and do best, and celebrate it.