SICK OF IT ALL - "LAST ACT OF DEFIANCE"
("CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS"; CD / Limited Version)
(Note: The limited version comes not in a jewel case but in a digi-bock/box and with a nice and pretty cool patch for your jacket, hoody, or cappy or what the hell else ever and it also features two exclusive bonus tracks - the CD, not the patch...)
(Running time: 16 songs in 35:38 minutes.)
They are back, SICK OF IT ALL are finally back, three years after their more than great and more than relevant 25 years anniversary celebration album "NON STOP" and four years after their so far last real or proper regular album "BASED ON A TRUE STORY" now in 2014 they finally really put out their newest one, titled "LAST ACT OF DEFIANCE" (and just btw, the title makes me just say that I definitely hope that it won't be their last act which means their final album), and I can't tell you how I was waiting for it, for the return of one my ultimate heroe bands ever, to say it that way. And I also asked myself if they will conquer like they did before, especially after they never let me down with not one single album, yes, and I can tell you that they definitely conquered and conquer like before - if not even more dominant and more supreme. Beside the question if and if so then how they would be able or will stand their ground today in general it was also pretty interesting for me to see and experience how they would stand their ground in particular in such a music-wise strong year than 2014 it is, at least in my book. And so I was incredible curious to finally put it in my stereo, crank up the volume, listen to it, give it a good round, and then another one, and then... then I realized that I was on a short holiday travel when I bought this shining little great silver disc back then at the early beginning of this year's October and there where I spend my little short holiday I had no opportunity to put it on (heavy) rotation... and so I had no other choice then keep on waiting for it even a bit longer... but when I was back home and I finally fired it up that's how I did... and that's when I was totally knocked off promptly, like a forceful swing of a crowbar straight to the face it hit me.
SICK OF IT ALL made their return with "LAST ACT OF DEFIANCE", they kick legions of butts of all those who proclaim or that are announced to be the definition of Hardcore 2014 or any bullshit like this, and they deliver mighty kicks and this just so easily that they leave even not the smallest space for questioning who are the lions and who's the prey. And this still today. Hm, and thinking about it... for how long this guys are now already around and in what age they are today, hm, but who cares, because it just feels that they only get better and better over and with all those years - and with this being said always keep in mind that they always had been the true and real force, so this definitely means and says a lot. The sixteen songs (and this, only logical, includes the fourteen regular album tracks, clearly and definitely) storm to power right from the get-go and lave no question unanswered, so let us here and now have a more detailed look on it, on what's going on here on "LAST ACT OF DEFIANCE", yes, and that's how and what we will do now and so here we go:
SICK OF IT ALL and that's just fantastic, that's what I love, a strong own unique and also (more than "only") great identity. Man, when I think about that my first ever experience of and with SICK OF IT ALL had been with their in my case definitely lifechanging "SCRATCH THE SURFACE" masterpiece groundbreaker back then in 1994 when I was just thirteen years young you maybe get a good impression of how important this band was and still is (and definitely will always be) for me and how I love this band and their specific characteristic and unique sound, style, and identity. And man, I really listen and mosh to SICK OF IT ALL now already for twenty years... that's maybe longer then some of the readers of this blog are old, man, whatever happened, hahaha, where did the time go... ;-) But, okay, okay, okay, that's another story, so back to the "LAST ACT OF DEFIANCE": All the hailing and praising of the guitars and their dominance shouldn't lead you on a wrong way of thinking somewhat and somehow bad about the rhythm section, because, let's get it clear, all great guitar work would be lost somewhere in the void if the rhythm section, bass and drums, can't keep up with it and after SICK OF IT ALL are one of the bands that definitely are and always had been nothing else than the real deal you can be sure that they know this old and simple truth. And so expect the outstanding guitars to be backed up by a widescreen stunning heavy very massive, absolutely tight and precise to the point played, masterful and exhilarated rhythm section that definitely knows how to fill and even more and this is how to cultivate the structures and the arrangements and rhythms of the songs with massive force and just sheer full power, and this in a damn fucking very manifold, grapping, cavalierly, and totally spurred yet sheer heavy and brutal way. Or, to say it more short, expect the outstanding guitars to be backed up by a outstanding rhythm section. Above all then shine the fantastic and phenomenal lead vocals, they shine to outshine every- and anything else, delivered simply by one of the most characteristic and most unique, by one of the damn best and greatest lead singers outta there, so there's no need to loose any more words about it, Lou Koller simply is THE man, point and fact. Backed up are the lead vocals by fat loud widescreen gang back up chantings and supported by the more than great guest singer Mad Joe Black/WISDOM IN CHAINS who shares vocal duties at the brilliant "FACING THE ABYSS". This is just true, real, pure, and just fantastic and timeless Hardcore from the NYC or NYHC on a stand-alone level that leaves even larger-than-life great ones like AGNOSTIC FRONT and MADBALL (clearly) behind, it's just incredible. Add to it here and there a slight metallic glance and tone and fill in some Oi! Oi! Oi! from time to time and you will have the perfect mixture of that special SICK OF IT ALL brew, all delivered via a sheer amazing high skilled and intense-grapping exciting songwriting. To compare SICK OF IT ALL with any other bands would be ridiculous and beside this also damn disrespectful, and so I will definitely spare me this. They do their own thing and they do it on a stand-alone level, and maybe with "LAST ACT OF DEFIANCE" even a bit more than before (with their also totally outshining precursor releases). In their own history you can maybe best locate it in the middle of a coordinate system in between "SCRATCH THE SURFACE", "CALL TO ARMS", "DEATH TO TYRANTS" and, as a logical and organic development of it, "BASED ON A TRUE STORY", and with some (very) few "YOURS TRULY" and "BUILT TO LAST" marks in it to round it all up as well, and all this done very fresh and lively-alive and on a very present-"today" level (no copy'n'paste work of own old glory days, not that I expected them to do this, but just to point it out and set it straight), full of 120% relevance. This also counts for the more than great and very diverse and multilayered outspoken lyrics, really a fresh pleasure to read and listen to and also a perfect match to/with the title and especially the (btw just totally awesome and fantastic) artwork of the album, that's in fact a real and true beauty. The widescreen and still warm and organic/natural or earthy production sound - loud, fat, heavy, brutally harsh, and hard yet dirty and organicly at the same time and over all the time - then just gives it all its more than bright shining crown made out of purest platinum and diamonds.
ROAD LESS TRAVELLED", "GET BRONX", "NEVER BACK DOWN", "BELTAWAY GETAWAY", "2061", "FACING THE ABYSS", "SIDELINED", "SOUND THE ALARM", "DISCONNECT YOUR FLESH", "OUTGUNNED", and "DNC (DO NOT COMPLY)" (Oi! Oi! Oi!) first out - as well as "STAND DOWN" and "WITH ALL DISRESPECT" in case you can get your hands still on a copy of the limited version - but don't make any mistakes, because the (anyhow only very, very few) not mentioned songs are also truly masterpieces of work.
SICK OF IT ALL came back and they conquered, again and again, and this in a more than "only" dominant way, and if 2014 would not also have finally seen the release of the new CRUCIAL CHANGE album it would had been SICK OF IT ALL who would have conquered my "virtual trophy" of having made the album of the year 2014, but also so they have created one hell of an outstanding dominant and supreme beast of an album with "LAST ACT OF DEFIANCE" that I can't recommend high enough here and now to/for you, simply pretty much the best of the best (with just one excepetion this year), and SICK OF IT ALL beat with "LAST ACT OF DEFIANCE" even SLAPSHOT with their 2014 self-titled masterpiece and delievered the best Hardcore album 2014, and also if we take a look on music in general, like already said more or less, it's just a through and through phenomenal masterpiece. Hm, and now you already now my no. # 1 and my no. # 2 album of 2014, hm, but so it be. And I am proud to keep walking on on the "ROAD LESS TRAVELLED" still inspired and guidelined by the music and words of the greatest of the great: SICK OF IT ALL. HARDCORE!!! FIST!!! /// Andy
(Rating: 10 of 10 points)
SICK OF IT ALL - "ROAD LESS TRAVELLED"
(Label site: http://www.centurymedia.com/)
(Note: And after Blogger really one more time again is freakin' fuckin' ticking me totally off with refusing to post the links as direct links to the sites, damn it, just copy the links in the headline of another tab of your browser and then simply go there... fuckin' Blogger, damn it.)
(PS: Please don't ask me why my scanner didn't get it done to do the scan in a clored way and instead of this delivered mostly just black/white scans, don't ask me why... that my scanner wouldn't be able to scan the "reflecting-holo-effects" of the artwork was clear to me, but why now also just black/white, I don't know... but anyhow, I think you get also via this pictures a pretty good impression of the complete artwork and that was all that I wanted to reach with giving you - again - a complete scan of the whole artwork of this album, so not questioning anymore here and now...)
SICK OF IT ALL - "WITH ALL DISRESPECT"