Amidst all the hoohah, hype and hurrah over Black Sabbath’s ‘13‘, you’d be forgiven for overlooking the fact that crossover legends Suicidal Tendencies have too released their thirteenth album. While they have faded from the major picture, Suicidal never really went away, and are still highly celebrated wherever they tour. But on record, they seem to have never hit the heights they achieved in the 80’s and early 90’s and it had been a while since they recorded any new original material. Roughly 13 years, in fact, despite a slew of split album releases along the way. Still, somewhere inside, ST have to consider whether indeed they’re ‘Still Cyco After All These Years‘.
‘Shake It Out’, the opening track, begins with Mike Muir introducing himself as ‘Cyco Miko’ and ‘a maniac’. The rest of the track itself is a little by numbers, though certainly catchy in some respects. Things shift up a gear with the shredding ‘Smash It’, a bruising encounter which takes up the shred and slam gauntlet well and truly. From then on in ’13’ rides on a series of sublime lead riffs, courtesy of Muir’s Infectious Grooves cohort Dean Pleasants, occasional funk forays and Muir’s rallying verbal and sometimes philosophical musings. The riffs keep rolling (‘Who’s Afraid?’) and the invitations to party continue to be posted (‘Slam City’). By the end, things get positively uplifting, if only in a musical sense, with the funk-infused ‘Life (Can’t Live With It, Can’t Live Without It)’ and the climactic closer ‘This World’, which reaches its crescendo behind a superb lead riff and Muir’s call of ‘This world don’t deserve my love‘. Its a thoroughly triumphant and defiant way to finish, as though all those who doubted whether Suicidal still had the goods really matter at all. Indeed, not a single fuck was given – even if this was to be a last hurrah, or a flailing haymaker from a former heavyweight champion in the 12th round, ‘13‘ lands the knockout blow in stunning fashion, a resounding riposte, and therefore an album entirely deserving of your eardrums. True, it’s not quite a return to the halcyon days of the 80’s and early 90’s, but ST remain just as relevant now as they were way back when.
Suicidal Tendencies – Smash It!