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Suicidal (2013)
Rating: 8/10

Suicidal Tendencies is nearly a genre unto itself. I first discovered this iconic Venice Beach, California-based band when exploring the realm of punk rock, and was impressed by the depth offered in their catalogue. Suicidal Tendencies is part punk attitude, part thrash power, part funk groove, and Mike Muir’s special blend of psychosis. While others have imitated this formula, no-one has accurately reproduced the sound of a Suicidal Tendencies album.

13 is the 11th full-length album from Muir’s circus of freaks, and the first release of new songs from the band since Free Your Soul And Save My Mind in 2000.

13 offers up the sounds that Suicidal Tendencies is known for. Fans will notice the thrash, hardcore and funk sounds that permeated the discographies of both Suicidal Tendencies and funk side project Infectious Grooves over the years.

‘Shake It Out’ opens 13 with a wah-drenched metal run that leads into gang vocals and the kind of humour Mike Muir has based his career on. This song represents the band’s metal sound perfectly. ‘This Ain’t A Celebration’ is an old school punk rock anthem in the vein of early Bad Religion or Circle Jerks. ‘Show Some Love…Tear It Down’ also hearkens back to the early 1980s and the punk roots of Suicidal Tendencies.

‘God Only Knows Who I Am’ and ‘Til My Last Breath’ take a page out of the Infectious Grooves playbook, falling somewhere between the funk of Red Hot Chili Peppers and the crunch and creativity of Faith No More.

While all these varied styles are enjoyable, Suicidal Tendencies shine when the band is just balls-out heavy. ‘Cyco Style’ races ahead with a hardcore rhythm that could smash walls. The simplicity of this song is its strength, being a raucous rocker that impresses by its heavy groove. ‘Living The Fight’ is in a similar vein, and surges forward as a rocking track that provides energy through furious distorted guitars and a ripping lead.

Sure, the mix of genres has always been part of the Suicidal Tendencies charm, but I can’t deny that my favourite moments are when the band is just rocking out and letting the funk influences be part of the backdrop rather than the focus of a song.

If you’ve been missing Suicidal Tendencies, 13 is just what you’re looking for. There’s no new ground broken here, but then again, Suicidal Tendencies covers a lot of ground already. If you haven’t heard the band, this is a good introduction, as all their varied styles are covered on one well produced set of songs.

13 is impressive in that it shows a band that has not lost its creativity or power over the years, even though many of those years have been spent in hiatus. The more I listen to 13 the more I remember everything I love about Suicidal Tendencies, and want to revisit their entire discography. With 13, Suicidal Tendencies satisfies fans’ desire for new music and leaves them wanting more.

Jim McDonald

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