Sick Of It All

Last Act Of Defiance

Written by: PP on 16/10/2014 21:59:19

Hey, there's a new Sick Of It All album out. And guess what? It sounds like a Sick Of It All album. That's right, there are no surprises on the ominously titled "Last Act Of Defiance" (will this be their last album?), their first full-length in four years and only second since 2006's modern classic "Death To Tyrants". Much like its predecessor "Based On A True Story", the pendulum swings closer towards punk than metallic hardcore, meaning the songs continue to be lighter and more upbeat than the crushing heaviness of songs like "Leader" or "Uprising Nation". This is especially evident in tracks like "Never Back Down", which is almost straight up punk rock given its upbeat melody, but of course, Lou Koller's fiery, angry yell leaves no question about who we're dealing with here. Madball fans, you'll still feel right at home, because it's not like SOIA are about to stray away from NYHC after all these decades.

Lyrically, it's a rather political album. With "Losing War" it is fairly straight forward to guess what the song is about based on its title, and "Part Of History" leaves no one in doubt what its message is with its catchy "Rats are in control!!" snarls during its chorus. So in that sense we're still in familiar territory when it comes to Sick Of It All albums. Fist pumping hardcore anthems with down-tuned guitars, aggressive vocals that deal with sociopolitical issues, and high-octane rhythms ensure that any fan of hardcore/punk should feel right at home throughout the album; SOIA fans especially so. As usual, the record is one angry motherfucker thanks to Koller's uncompromising vocal style that's definitely an acquired taste if you ask people who don't usually listen to hardcore. While there's a tiny bit of melody involved in his shout, for the most part it's coarse, rough, and piercing in its nature. So again, business as usual when it comes to SOIA. A few curveballs do exist though such as the 27 second gang shout melody of "Beltway Getaway", which leaves you wishing the song was a lot longer because those echoing gang shouts have some serious anthemic potential.

So now that we've established that "Last Act Of Defiance" is in fact a signature-sound SOIA album from start to finish, the question remains how good is it? It's still nowhere near "Death To Tyrants" nor "Scratch The Surface", the two key albums in their discography, but it's still better than the somewhat forgettable "Based On A True Story" that lacked consistency despite featuring a number of great tracks like "Bent Outta Shape". Here, the band delivers classic new york hardcore in solid repetition from start to finish, with more interesting tracks than standard fare hardcore pieces. Get it if you like SOIA, but don't expect this to be the record that gives you the 'a-ha' moment if you weren't a fan before.

Download: Never Back Down, Part Of History, Facing The Abyss, Road Less Traveled
For the fans of: Madball, Agnostic Front, Lionheart
Listen: Facebook

Release date 29.09.2014
Century Media Records

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