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Suicidal Tendencies Deliver the 13th 13 of ’13

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“Suicidal’s back! Suicidal’s back! Suicidal’s back!” They’re also more than a little excited to have a new record out apparently, and they should be; it’s been thirteen years since these cycos slammed new music into our brains. I’ll be the first to say that it’s about damn time. I’ve been forced to sit here with the shitty taste of Free Your Soul… And Save My Mind in my mouth for over a decade, and it’s definitely been bringing me down, man.

A quick word of warning: if you’re in the camp that believes only those who blindly pledged their allegiance to Mike Muir can tolerate the band’s late 90’s output, I wouldn’t even bother touching 13. I know I might sound like I reside in said camp, but unfortunately, I’m more of a Suicidal-for-life type who is willing to give anything this band touches an honest shot. I don’t know how inspired you can reasonably expect the thirteenth album called 13 released in 2013 to be, but it was impossible for me not to get my hopes up.

Let’s get to the actual music, though. At the simplest level, I would describe 13 as the perfect middle ground between Freedumb and Free Your Soul; since the former borrows more from the style of the band’s golden years, chalk 13 up as a step in the right direction. The album is heavily rooted in hardcore punk, which is cool, except that it completely lacks the memorable thrash riffs that defined discography highlights like How Will I Laugh Tomorrow. Even though he can’t sweep all the filler tracks under the rug, axeman Dean Pleasants does try to remedy the situation by dropping a load of tasty leads and sweet solos all over the place. Just listen to the first 20 seconds of the album and try to tell me you’re not licking your lips with anticipation almost immediately:

While Pleasants is definitely the guy bringing an all star hustle here, that isn’t to say that the other members of the band don’t show up to play occasionally. A couple of snazzy bass licks save “Show Some Love… Tear It Down” from being merely a sounding board for Muir’s obviously recycled, embarrassingly simple lyrics. (Samples:  “We don’t mosh, we fuck’n slam!” and “Cyco cyco cyco cyco cyco!”).

13 is an insanely easy album to summarize. What we have here is a record for diehard ST fans that uses some dynamic lead guitar work to skip itself just ahead of the band’s least interesting album. It’s understandable if that doesn’t sound like something that might interest you, but I hope that’s not the case. I’ll take ST over any other thrash band any day of the week, and I think a lot of people would, too, if they’d take the time to parse through their discography. Make it happen guys. Suicidal for life.

Suicidal Tendencies’ 13 is out now. Get it here.

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