FEAR, EMPTINESS, DECIBEL: SICK OF IT ALL’S SCRATCH THE SURFACE ENTERS THE HALL OF FAME
Before there were blogs there were these things called magazines, and the only metal magazine we still get excited about reading every month is Decibel. Here’s managing editor Andrew Bonazelli…
This month’s Hall of Fame is on Sick of It All’s Scratch the Surface. It’s not that I don’t want to write about it, but our own Shane Mehling summed up the album’s lasting impact way better than I ever could, courtesy of Metal Injection’s “Clips of the Month” column, re: the infamous/hilarious “Step Down” video.
This is the video that in three and a half minutes was able to turn every Midwest Headbangers Ball teenager into a seasoned hardcore expert. Seriously, you may have tuned in that night to see “Thunder Kiss ’65” for the dozenth time, but after the image of someone “pickin’ up change,” you strolled into school on Monday like you gave Harley Cro-Mag his first bass. Okay, maybe then you heard Korn and everything went south, but there was that one indelible moment where you really felt like a part of the underground, bowling shirts and all.
As that video awesomely attests, SOIA had a (sorry…) sick sense of humor. Obviously, self-deprecation and playfulness have never been stellar attributes in hardcore bands, but like mouthpiece Lou Koller says in our story (expertly compiled by Shawn Macomber): “Look at Biohazard’s video where 20 guys are out on Brooklyn Bridge, it’s 20 degrees below zero outside, they’ve all got their shirts off and they’re jumping all over each other. That’s cool, but we’ve always had a sense of humor in our band.” Which is not to say SOIA didn’t have great songs. There are many standalone classics on Surface: the bleak urban bass stabs of “Consume,” the shout-along anti-sloganeering of the title track, the anti-scenester sentiment of “Who Sets the Rules.”
Read all about it in the Converge issue, which, appearance notwithstanding, is not our hardcore issue—the cover artist and HOF are just a coincidence. I will say that there are plenty of other olds spanning various genres—Nile, Katatonia, Immolation—for you to bow before.
The October issue of Decibel also features Converge, The Faceless, and a killer Tombs flexi disc, and can be ordered here. But why not just get a full subscription to ensure that you never miss an issue?