Sick of it All - _Death to Tyrants_
(Century Media, 2006)
by: Jackie Smit (10 out of 10)
While it would be nigh on impossible to refute the street cred of their frankly scarily intense live shows, it's been a while since that same buzz could be felt about Sick of it All's recorded efforts. Solid albums _Life on the Ropes_ and _Yours Truly_ may well have been, but the world has moved on significantly since the New York quartet burst on the scene in 1986, and with a new generation of bands like Hatebreed flexing their hardcore muscles to an impressive degree, and even veteran acts like Agnostic Front hulking up (musically speaking) on recent releases, Sick of it All haven't laid down the proverbial smack quite as deftly as one might expect from one of the genre's most influential forces.

Not so on _Death to Tyrants_. Indeed a change of record label and the introduction of Tue Madsen -- known for his work with The Haunted, Himsa and more -- behind the mixing desk appear to have done the band the world of good. Certainly the flagrant incompetence of the Bush administration has drawn an exponentially amplified sense of rancor from the boys, and they lay into Dubya and his cronies with gusto on songs like "Uprising Nation", "Evil Schemer" and the particularly incendiary "Faithless".

The spirit of classics like _Scratch the Surface_ and _Built to Last_ is ever present -- the band have certainly not made a concerted effort to modernize their sound in any way -- but this time around it's heavier, nastier and acerbic enough to peel the paint off the walls. Put slightly differently, it's one of the most flawlessly executed examples of New York hardcore you'll have the pleasure of listening to this year. It's about as no-nonsense as you can imagine, constantly exciting, and the greatest achievement perhaps is that _Death to Tyrants_ is undoubtedly one of the crown jewels in a career that's been going for twenty years and counting.


(article published 24/5/2006)

5/19/1999 P Schwarz 9 Sick of it All - Call to Arms
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