Produced by Mark Magill, Andy Mason, SSS except all drums engineered by Al Groves at Sandfield Studios. Mastered by Rob Whiteley at Dorrit Street. Released on Earache records in 2008.
CD also included a free DVD “A short film about SSS”, introduced by the late, great Frank Sidebottom.
I don’t have much punk, hardcore or crossover music in my collection. The closest I have are the first few Suicidal Tendencies albums, and offering or two from Biohazard and Sick Of It All. It’s not a genre that I’ve really identified with, but I discover that when I listen to it I really like it. That’s what I’ve found with this album: it’s very listen-able.
This album opens with a very unrepresentative track, however, ‘The Dividing Line’. It has an almost epic, 80s metal feel to it; building from a bass growl, guitars twittering over what sound like keyboard power chords. It’s nothing if not atmospheric. I want to hear more of that, please.
But it turns out literally to be the dividing line. The rest of the album is a thrash/crossover romp. Twenty songs in 32′ 39″. The songs are raw and energetic. It reminds me very much of Slayer‘s punk covers album Undisputed Attitude (1996).
The Slayer influence isn’t too far away throughout this album, for example track 10 ‘Purple Reign’ opens with what sounds like a b-side from Reign in Blood (1986).
The stand out tracks for me the opener ‘The Dividing Line’; track 11 ‘Hammerhead’ which features a fabulous, tube-screaming guitar solo; track 15 ‘Time’s Up’ which reminds me of the fabulous Nuclear Assault, particularly the bass rumble that opens the song; and the final track 20 ‘Unrest in the Northwest’ which opens with a clean arpeggio—it really is almost mid-80s Suicidal Tendencies in its feel. And it’s the only song on the album that lasts more than two and a half minutes.
Bundled with the album was a 30 minutes (or so) DVD following the band as they create the album. There is more than one scene where a member of the band is being interviewed while he’s making his tea, and another is sitting at an electric drum kit… in his shed. Very metal! I like DVDs like that though: real, down to earth, and they give you a good opportunity to find out about the members of the band.
All in all, a really fun album. As I said it’s very listen-able, not a classic but a solid album. At the end of the day what I want to know is: will I choose to listen to this again? And yes, yes I would and I have.
Review score: 70%