Review Summary: Sick of It All mark their 20th anniversary with an album that takes their bruising hardcore approach to another level.
Let's cut to the chase here--- something hardcore veterans Sick of It All do masterfully on their eighth studio album. Death to Tyrants
is not just heavier and more powerful and anything the band has put out before, it also manages to be just as catchy and melodic. Frontman Lou Koller and company waste no time in igniting their latest anti-establishment rant (just check the album and song titles), with only one song landing on the upper side of three minutes and the album itself barely eclipsing thirty. Some albums make you want to dance, some albums make you want to cry, and some albums make you want to bang your head against a wall repeatedly. Death to Tyrants
falls under the third category, in the best way possible.
What really separates Death to Tyrants
from the countless post-hardcore albums out there today are the metal influences that the band newly adopted for the record. Just check out "Die Alone"--- the furious intro fueled by guitarist Pete Koller (Lou's brother) is more metal-oriented than any of Sick of It All's previous material, and rest of the track lives up to it--- it's one of the band's best. "Machete" is also a standout, beginning with the band's signature hardcore formula and eventually settling in to a sharp-as-a-knife groove. This added edge is what keeps the record from falling into monotony, a claim that their previous records could not always make. The traditional cuts reminiscent of modern post-hardcore are still there to give Death to Tyrants
an extra layer of depth, as is evident in bruising closer "Maria White Trash," which features a mildly anthemic, shout-along chorus.
Try as you might, you just can't knock Death to Tyrants
. While the album ultimately suffers from the lack of fantastic tracks, it's extremely impressive how powerful Lou Koller's voice, his brother's riffs, and the drumming of Armand Majidi sound on the record after 20 years. It's polished without being over-polished, and raw enough to incur memories of the Blood, Sweat, and No Tears
-era band of the late '80s. Give Sick of It All serious credit for two decades of "celebrating that they don't give a f**k," and still putting out an excellent album.