Mike Muir and Dean Pleasants are back for Suicidal’s eleventh album but the first for new recruits Ra Díaz, Jeff Pogan and Dave Lombardo. In many ways you know what you’re going to get with an ST album. There’s gonna be some ranting by Cyco Miko, some fast songs you can slam to but most importantly, especially if you’re a fan, the thought provoking lyrical content that make ST the institution they have become.
For me the feel of this album is back to the sound of the early 90’s and opener “Clap Like Ozzy” immediately sets the mood with plenty of bass slapping and popping by Díaz along with a very straight forward punky drum tempo.
Slayer’s loss is ST’s gain and Lombardo delivers the goods with a funky but still very thrashy groove on “The New Degeneration” as it works through various movements during its 6 minutes with rather franticly paced leads by Pleasants and Pogan.
For a band named the way they are they do have a habit of suggesting that we live life to the fullest and “Living For Life” is no exception. Muir’s voice cuts through with precise clarity to drive the message home in his usual succinct way as the momentum of the song rises and falls away.
The haunting guitar leads opening “Get Your Fight On!” wind their way around until the riff kick into full swing with the usual fire and flair that shall have plenty of pits getting their slam on.
The title track “World Gone Mad!” is a great bouncy track with both catchy riffs and tempos that make the chorus twice as catchy and rather easy to sing along to.
“Happy Never After” is a lead fest of note, as it meanders around, through and over the riffs but at the same time fits in perfectly to emphasize the vocals as punctuation, with a beautiful bass riff on the second half of the song.
Fast and choppy, “One Finger Salute” captures the ST attitude with its high energy and tempo.
The slap bass on “Damage Control” is played by Steve ‘Thundercat’ Bruner giving the song that great infectious groove it required to make it super funky.
“The Struggle Is Real” is the last fast song on the album and it rushes at you like an out of control locomotive in a flurry of drums, bass and guitars.
Power ballad is definitely the wrong term to use for “Still Dying To Live” as it’s more a heartfelt and heart wrenching slow song with a powerful message than just a heavy slow song where Muir manages to deliver all that angst he’s renowned for.
“This World” on the other hand is complete minimalism focusing on Muir’s subdued singing with an acoustic accompaniment and light snare rolls by Phil Greenwood on the drums to fill out the sound nicely and keep the timing restrained until the lead guitar is let loose for that extra little bit of flavour.
I could now sit here and wax lyrical about how Lombardo has changed the sound of the band, but he hasn’t. He’s just fit right in and helped them deliver the sound we’re expecting from ST: funky, thrashy, punky and always fun. So if you’ve been away for a while, I think it’s time to dive back into the Suicidal Army.
(8/10 Marco Gaminara)