Sick Of It All

Wake The Sleeping Dragon!

Written by: PP on 01/03/2019 16:58:47

"Wake The Sleeping Dragon!" is the twelfth studio album by the New York Hardcore institution Sick Of It All. It's also the best album they've released since 2006's "Death To Tyrants", which was arguably the heaviest and most metallic one of their hardcore albums to date. The two since then, "Based On A True Story" and "The Last Act Of Defiance", had more of a punk rock vibe going on though still firmly rooted in hardcore. Their primary problem was that the songwriting was a little too safe-and-sound, standard SOIA level hardcore that didn't leave behind a particularly memorable impression.

That's been fixed on the new record, which continues the punk rock pattern, even taking it a step further on a couple of songs that feature Sick Of It All at the most melodic of their entire career. "Bull's Anthem" (feat. Tim McIlrath of Rise Against fame), for instance, is like a hooligan's anthem that echoes a similar hardcore meets folk punk soundscape of chant-along punk rock as Dropkick Murphys. It's melodic and catchy, and a new twist to the classic Sick Of It All formula, thus adding a surprisingly fresh vibe on a sound that was dangerously close of becoming stale. Similarly, "Always With Us" is another huge hardcore anthem that's guaranteed to get the sing-alongs going at live shows in the future.

At the same time, the band proudly display their NYHC origins elsewhere on the album where they sound more aggressive and ferocious than they've done in more than a decade - see "Mental Furlough" as a great example. Lou Koller sounds young and spirited despite approaching 60 years of age, even throwing in some tongue-in-cheek material and lighthearted humour such as on "That Crazy White Boy Shit".

The production has also improved, now standing somewhere in between the loose and somewhat sloppy work on "Based On A True Story" and the heavy tunes of "Death To Tyrants". It's exactly where the band should be as it highlights the underlying chunky heaviness of their sound while allowing the subtle melodies to shine underneath the hardcore punk surface.

All in all, "Wake The Sleeping Dragon!" is a great return to form that shuts the mouths on most critics of the band's recent output and proves that despite putting out albums for a good 30 years now, they are still in excellent form.

8

Download: That Crazy White Boy Shit, Bull's Anthem, Always With Us, Mental Furlough
For the fans of: Lionheart, Madball, Agnostic Front
Listen: Facebook

Release date 02.11.2018
Century Media

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