Suicidal Tendencies’ steady stream of music continued this year with their 14th album ”STill Cyco Punk After All These Years,” a testament to their lengthy and influential legacy. Brimming with fast-paced songwriting and an supremely fun and catchy sound, the fathers of crossover cement their place in metal with a pleasantly enjoyable platter of high-octane anthems.
Thrash is possibly the most universally loved metal genre, spawning some of the greatest metal bands ever and providing a raw, speedy and energetic sound that metalheads have adored for decades.
Thrash’s punk rock roots, found in its rapid-fire drums, angst-ridden lyrics and fast tempos, cannot be ignored, and this caused turmoil between punk fans and metalheads in the 1980s.
There had to be a way of quelling the discord between the two fan bases to avoid musical strife. Crossover thrash (“crossover” for short) was the answer, a genre that combined punk and thrash into a melting pot that fans of both punk and metal could enjoy.
The group often credited with inventing crossover is Suicidal Tendencies, from Venice, California. Formed in 1980, the band has consistently put out records every couple of few years despite some hiatuses, gained a sufficient following, and are known as one of the most iconic metal bands of the ‘80s.
The band’s lighthearted tone is evident from the album’s opening track “I Love Destruction,” a peppy ode to careless fun and devastation, bolstered by an ascending chant and crisp backing vocals that seem as if a gang of hooligans are hyping themselves up for a rager.
It’s the perfect start to an album tailor-made for blasting while running around hallways. “F.U.B.A.R”, the album’s best song, follows, with a brisk pace, an easily-chantable chorus, and lyrics drenched in bitterness. Add in a blistering guitar solo from Dean Pleasants, and you’ve got a song that sounds straight out of earlier works like 1990’s ”Lights, Camera, Revolution” and their self-titled debut.
At least two of the album’s songs contain clever wordplay in the titles, with “Sippin’ From the Insanitea” and “Save a Peace for Me” chronicling the chaotic state of the world and personal demons, respectively. The latter also gives the album it’s longest tune, clocking in at just under 6 minutes.
“Lost My Brain...Once Again” serves as an undeniable anthem for all crazy, fun-loving outsiders while “Nothin’ To Lose” and its lighting speed honora roughing it in life. Other album highlights include “Gonna Be Alright” with its sudden changes from fast to slow tempos, as well as the hyper-relatable “It’s Always Something.”
But the record’s giddy sense of humor, fun and carelessness is what really elevates these songs to the heights they stand at. Even though frontman Mike Muir is 55 years old, his voice still sounds as young and fresh as it does on the band’s earlier releases.
Muir’s vocal delivery is irresistibly frivolous as he spouts insanity-praising and condemning lyrics with ease, never losing his energy. Drummer Dave Lombardo delivers pulsating beats that are more than enough to whip up a wild mosh pit, bringing the hardcore punk element to the forefront of the music.
Suicidal Tendencies has never been a serious band, as songs like “Institutionalized” and album titles like 1999’s “Freedumb” can testify. It’s this notion of musical amusement that really makes the songs on “STill Cyco Punk After All These Years” more enjoyable than they already are. Even when the subject matter seems as if it’s focusing on something more downtrodden and disparaging, Suicidal Tendencies knows how to make anything sound like a good time.