The 1980s was an era where being different musically wasn’t really accepted in the world of commercialised New Wave music with keyboards everywhere. Nirvana and others had yet to show the world that this could be done in a mainstream sense. So what music could people listen to if they didn’t like Michael Jackson’s Thriller album back in 1983? That is where bands like Suicidal Tendencies come in. Obviously, the name and the music are uncompromising for those who enjoy crossover Hardcore Punk and Thrash Metal. Given that some time has passed since this debut album release, let’s take a listen to it and hear if it is worth it today.
Suicide’s an Alternative / You’ll Be Sorry begins with some maniacal laughing, some weird guitars and hyperactive drumming. This is obviously not supposed to be taken seriously. It quickly launches into a song that is super thrashy and fast. This is surprisingly good, it sounds like a band on fire willing to impress the world with their extreme agenda and fast playing. The lyrics deal with chatting with the devil and other unusual deeds, so this is not something religious people or children should hear. An interesting and surprisingly good listen from the start, this sounds really awesome. Great song, and it is below three minutes in length. Fun to hear.
Two Sided Politics is around a minute long. It begins with some synchronised drums and guitars, before launching straight into a song that is a big sonic assault. The guitar solo present is fast and insane and is shred central. An enjoyable and fast tune. Great stuff.
I Shot The Devil is another super short piece, with a screamed vocal part at the start: “I shot Reagan!” This tune is obviously a left-wing protest again the US president at the time, who was a Republican and this tune also advocates violence against him, which isn’t impressive, it’s not like Ronald Reagan was a dictator. There is a really cool solo in the second half, followed by more extreme screaming. Towards the end, there is almost a false ending, before this song concludes. It’s more thrashy than musical but is decent for what it is, despite the threats of violence.
Subliminal begins with some great guitar riffing that is a descending pattern. This quickly launches into a song with a lot of moaning vocals. In any case, this is a good listen. A bass solo then enters, and this piece launches into a Hardcore Punk style delight. This again, is quite good, although not everybody would enjoy this sort of music. This is heavily influenced by contemporaries such as Black Flag, and it just sounds really cool and amazing. The guitar riffs in the second half are really quite good, and this piece sounds like a bunch of guys on speed. An excellent and underrated song, and album too. Great listen. It ends with some gurgling bass and a drum finish. Good stuff.
Won’t Fall In Love Today is a very short piece at a minute long. It is a super fast, Hardcore Punk song that is a blistering assault to hear. The guitar solo is pretty mental sounding, and this is over before you know it.
Institutionalized begins with some excellent drumming and guitar feedback, before launching into a piece of music that isn’t similar to Black Flag’s My War album. A really decent and interesting listen, this sounds a little disturbed in a psychological sense. However, it is supposed to be. A loud, punchy and fast listen that is very enjoyable. This is about dealing with unwanted authorities, namely nosy parents, and is a strange listen. The music is proto-Nirvana style Grunge in terms of quiet/loud and slow/fast and the lyrics are fairly disturbing as well. An interesting tune for teenage rebellion, this is very good to hear. Awesome stuff.
Memories Of Tomorrow is another very short piece that is a sonic assault. Again, this is around a minute long and sounds fantastic. The pace, energy and speed all are quite mindblowing. A really short and direct tune.
Possessed begins with chugging bass lines, before some electric guitars that are really awesome enter. This also has a very fast pace for a song and is a loud musical punch to the face. Nonetheless, this music is much appreciated, and it is designed for repeat listens. An excellent piece of Hardcore Punk, Suicidal Tendencies do impress. A great listen and a wonderful tune, this is a good two-minute-long piece. Nice work.
I Saw Your Mummy… is a long piece (for the group) at nearly five minutes long. It begins slowly and has some rather unusual and twisted guitar riffs. This tune is very weird indeed, and it tells a tale of murder and other strange events. There is a slow/fast transition in between the verses, and this is definitely weird. In any case, musically it works. Twisted, cynical and bitter, Suicidal Tendencies make such strange stories that are borderline criminal in their intention. Still, this strange song is not exactly a comforting listen lyrically, but it is nicely matched musically. A good and simple guitar solo is present towards the end of the song, proving that the band had their musical chops put down nicely. Nice work. There is a nice instrumental section to conclude.
Fascist Pig is another shorter tune at just over a minute in length. Again, this is a straightforward mixture of music and politics which works fairly well in this song. The main sense is irony present, and musically it is again a vicious assault. Great music to hear. It is over before you know it.
I Want More begins with some fuzz laden overdriven chords and slow drumming as we enter into a slower and more song based piece. This is very unusual until a load of drum rolls enter and the band enter Hardcore Punk frenzy. The music here is awesome, especially as an awesome guitar enters around the middle of the song. Chanting and furious playing makes this tune come alive. A really cool listen, even for outsiders to the group, this is an interesting tune that ends abruptly.
Suicidal Failure begins with some chugging and heavily overdriven riffs. This launches into the last song on this album and has some Black Sabbath sounding guitar solos. A song emerges that is fairly heavy listening, and it is directly about suicide. Not exactly a happy tune, this is a song about being a suicidal maniac and still managing to stay alive. This is a polarising tune, either you will laugh or turn off the album in disgust. In any case, suicide shouldn’t be glorified and although that may seem the case here, it isn’t real. The song ends with thrashy drumming and extreme playing from the group. A strange song to finish this album with.
Straight up, this is not the greatest Hardcore Punk album of all time, let alone being in the top 10 of the greatest albums of all time. However, if you like fast, furious and deadly music, this is a good solution for you. Sure, there are offhand references to suicidal imagery and violence, particularly in the last song, but all the same, it is not to be taken totally seriously. Mind you, murder and suicide aren’t good topics to hear, even set to music. This album is the beginning of a long career for Suicidal Tendencies, and their genre busting music paved way for future Punk Rock acts.
Good, but not great.