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World Gone Mad

Suicidal (2016)
Rating: 9/10

I was less than impressed by Suicidal Tendencies’ 2013 offering 13 but new 11-track affair World Gone Mad is an album I welcomed with open arms, mostly in the hope that it would restore my faith in this once important band.

Vocalist Mike Muir has certainly pulled out all of the stops with this one, bringing in three new band members in the form of bassist Ra Díaz, guitarist Jeff Pogan and lo and behold, former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo. Boy, does that drum lord add extra beef, menace and thrashing mayhem to Suicidal Tendencies’ latest opus.

With the youthful vim that made their early albums such classics, the current Suicidal Tendencies formation goes a long way towards bringing back the days of bruising skatecore. Funky, punchy, slamming, speedy, and fun are words I’ve always used to sum up the progression of this band, and all these ingredients can be found somewhere here.

Opener ‘Clap Like Ozzy’ is so damn catchy; beginning originally as a fast-paced crossover thrash assault, but with that bubbling bass and Muir’s infectious warble this is a track sure to go down as a Suicidal classic. With a flailing solo here and a jabbing stab of percussion there, ‘Clap Like Ozzy’ is an instant, likeable, full-flowing streetwise cavort that leads us to ‘The New Degeneration’; a churning, leviathan of a thrashing groove, and probably my favourite tune on the record. Giving those nu-metal ulcers a lesson in violence and stomping metal, ‘The New Degeneration’ pumps hard on that chugging riff and Muir’s chunky raps, and there’s elements of Anthrax too with that dark-edged metallic nod.

There’s always been a variety in the Suicidal Tendencies sound and with a track such as ‘Living For Life’, there’s that sense of fun flirtation and soulful meddling. The track builds slowly before becoming the usual manic outpouring of streetwise emotion – it’s as crossover as crossover gets in 2016.

Muir and company, in spite of being well beyond their teenage years, provide that raging, youthful recklessness bolstered by some dazzling leads and again, Lombardo’s feisty hurtling.

Others may argue that Dave is out of his comfort zone, but that is something which I completely disagree with. The guy has a god-given talent which has enabled him to evolve and slip into various diverse projects, and so World Gone Mad is just another composition that he lights up with his fiendish, frantic playing. If only Slayer still had him!

World Gone Mad drifts by with such an enjoyable energy that I’ve found myself playing it over and over again. Whether in the form of the Jimi Hendrix-beginnings of ‘Get Your Fight On!’, the funky soul of the title track with its choppy raps, the chugging thrashcore menace of ‘Happy Never After’ or the full-on molten metal foray of ‘Damage Control’, there’s no doubt that this latest Suicidal Tendencies creation has something for everyone.

Those yearning for the almost naïve yet punky tints of the old days need to grow up and move on, because this time around Suicidal Tendencies have cooked up an explosive yet varied mix, mixing frantic malevolence (‘One Finger Salute’), sizzling punky speedcore (‘The Struggle Is Real’) and acoustic balladry (‘This World’) which somehow hints at a Red Hot Chili Peppers vibe.

As I say, there’s something for everyone. World Gone Mad is a very rewarding return to form that boasts moshing madness, fits of freneticism and bouts of schizophrenic genius.

Neil Arnold

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