A Tendency for the Cyco
Suicidal Tendencies are the true definition of punk veterans. Formed in 1980 in California, truly the birthplace of the ‘90s punk that is instilled in the popular culture, Suicidal Tendencies revolutionized a new genre of hardcore punk based around a culture rather than a sound. “Skate punk” is the attitude and sound of a generation of California skaters. More than just a soundtrack of songs from the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series, skate punk is a fusion of thrash punk, metal and even some funk in there for good measure. Suicidal Tendencies and their charismatic leader in Mike Muir led this charge. “Institutionalized” is a genre classic and their self-proclamation of “Cyco Vision” is part of the namesake of their newest record STill Cyco Punk After All These Years, a follow up to 1993’s Still Cyco After All These Years.
This album really fits the typical hardcore punk attitude. Suicidal Tendencies may be a 30-plus-year-old band, but just like on the first track “I Love Destruction,” gritty and thrashing violence is still a prominent focus. Maybe for guys pushing mid-50s, it could come off as punk Dad wannabe, but these guys are veterans of this genre and have earned their status to really say what they want. But this doesn’t come off well the whole album. When they say on “All Kinda Crazy” that violence for them is fun, it appears more cheesy compared to Rage Against the Machine insinuating riots. Although the lineup changes often for the Tendencies, Muir has kept the band on track with this release, keeping this release more to the roots, rather than the metal route this band took in recent releases.
The instrumentals on this album are a mish-mosh of their best solo pieces and sometimes their simplest rhythm section parts. “Lost My Brain… Once Again” has a very simple Buzzcocks style punk chord progression, but the fun part instrumentally on this track is the bass line clicking in the background of the chorus. The guitar solo is also one of the best on the album as it progresses through many scales at blistering speed, shedding the barrier that goes with the sometimes simplistic genre of hardcore punk.
“Gonna Be Alright” sounds like old Ozzy Osbourne in the vocals and guitar patterns at first, but then the drums kick in heavily speeding up the song’s tempo. This song is one of the most optimistic on the album as one can tell from the title, but the track’s sound has more of a hair metal meets punk style of funk and glam. It works well as it bounces back and forth between the slow section and the faster part.
“Save A Peace for Me” closes the album. It is the longest track on STill Cyco Punk After All These Years, clocking in around six minutes. It is a little long but it has nice parts where the energetic punk dies down to the bassline and drums which eventually build back up to the album’s conclusive guitar solo.
Overall, an album that doesn’t break any records, but will probably be underrated in the group’s collective discography along the way.