Suicidal Tendencies have released their latest album, STill Cyco Punk After All These Years through their own label, Suicidal Records. STill Cyco Punk, as we will call it for the rest of this review, is actually an almost complete rerecording of the 1996 album, solo album by Mike Muir, called Lost My Brain (Once Again). That album was released under the moniker Cyco Miko.
The only differences between the two are the omission of Cyco Miko Want’s You and Ain’t Mess’n Around from STill Cyco Punk. Ain’t Mess’n Around is available on their recent EP along with a track from this album called Nothing to Lose. That EP is called Get Your Fight On, which you can read more about here.
With 38 years in the business, 14 studio albums, 4 compilations, 2 EPs and countless singles, videos and the like, Suicidal Tendencies are a great servant to metal. Starting off more as a hardcore punk band, their sound has evolved over time as they became more of a cross over thrash band. Despite their obvious influence on metal as a whole, Suicidal Tendencies have had plenty of hurdles en route. A few mini hiatuses, here and there, and a phenomenal amount of member changes, trouble with the law and even finding themselves banned from playing plenty of venues.
They had a few years off in the mid 80’s, coming back in 1987 before going back on hiatus in 1995 for a year. They also had to stop in 2004 for a bit as Mike Muir required back surgery. All the stops meant band members often moved on to other projects. When Suicidal Tendencies where ready to go again, Muir often had to grab a whole crew of new members first. Not including current members, there have been 8 guitarists, 12 drummers and 10 bassists in the band to date. Only Mike Muir is ever present. Some of the previous members are big names to. At least now anyway. Perhaps using Suicidal Tendencies as a platform to go on to bigger things?
Just a few of those famous, though not at the time, names are Robert Trujillo (Metallica) on bass, Rocky George (Cro-Mags) on guitars, Josh Freese (Guns’N’Roses, Sting, Paramore) on drums and Brooks Wackerman (Avenged Sevenfold) also on drums.
Currently Suicidal Tendencies are, Mike Muir of course, on lead vocals with Dean Pleasants on guitars and backing vocals. On drums is the legendary, Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Dead Cross) and on the bass it’s Ra Diaz. Stepping up on guitars for live performances too, is Ben Weinman.
On to the new album, STill Cyco Punk After All These Years then and unfortunately it is a little disappointing. There are 11 tracks, or around 41 minutes of newish music to listen to in total. Apparently Mike Muir didn’t feel these songs were right for Suicidal Tendencies back in 96 and that still holds true today. It certainly isn’t a disaster, or a mess, or anything negative like that. It is just completely lacking in any hardcore/punk attitude or enthusiasm. Instead it often plays out like a pop punk album with a few nods to thrash and a couple slightly better tracks.
Nothing to Lose, from the recent Get Your Fight On, is a decent track with a little “don’t give a fuck” attitude. There is a good tempo and a raw edge to the song. You feel a definite nod to the earlier hardcore sounds of the band. All Kinda Crazy has some impressive drum rhythms and quirky riffs with loads of gang vocals. It also ends with a ripping solo and a little rowdiness. Lost My Brain Once Again has a nice energy to it but is really clean sounding. While I love the drum fills and energetic guitars, the whole track feels really polished and as far from raw as can be.
Like I said before, nothing on STill Cyco Punk is particularly bad. Almost every song has merits but so much of it is clean and polished it occasionally veers into pop punk territory, losing the aggression for the cleaner sound. Album opener, I Love Destruction, offers promise of chaos but delivers none of it, instead settling into an upbeat riff and tempo, really polished with loads of “whoahs”. A catchy song but not what I was expecting or wanting. Gonna Be Alright sees the band move towards their crossover thrash sound with faster, darker riffing and a bit of snarl. This is a good track and one you could imagine letting loose to.
Sipping’ From the Insanitea has a fun title. Otherwise it is instantly forgettable. All I Ever Get is okay but struggles to stand out on an album a little too full of okay . The album closes on Save a Peace For Me which is a decent track, though not much in the way of hardcore punk. It has a broodier, bluesy building riff to it with more impressive drumming from Lombardo and a thick bass line. It has a classic rock feel to it’s start but does pick up a bit and inject some energy and enthusiasm nearing the end. Even the vocals are more sung then barked.
All in, the biggest problem with this album is that musically it is as far away from being STill Cyco Punk as possible. There are a lot of okay songs on here and even a few great ones. Psychotic punk it is not though. Calm, well written, interesting and occasionally funny, yes. Considered punk, maybe? Fans of the band are sure to be delighted in hearing some of the older tracks join the Suicidal Tendencies discography but don’t expect anarchy. You will be disappointed. Not a bad album, but it is like buying a pack of sour Warheads and getting a cute and sweet jelly bean inside. Nice enough, but not what you were hoping for.
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STill Cyco After All These Years is available now on all the usual; streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify. You can also grab a physical copy from the band’s website, here. Find out more, or keep up to date, with Suicidal Tendencies at their website, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
STill Cyco Punk After All These Years by Suicidal Tendencies (Suicidal Records)
The Final Score - 5/10