Prime Cuts / Friends And Family / Six The Hard Way
Released: 1997, Suicidal Records
Reviewer: Nathan Robinson
Yes, Suicidal Tendencies is still alive and kickin', but it's not the same band that we used to know. Nowadays it's really a cross between ST and Infectious Grooves. Mike Muir (vocals) and Mike Clark (guitar) still remain from the classic lineup, but out of the picture are Robert Trujullio, Rocky George, and Jimmy DeGrasso. To take their place are Dean Pleasants (guitar) and Brooks Wackerman (drums) from IG, and Josh Paul on bass.
So what can be expected from the new camp? Well if you were disappointed with ST's Suicidal for Life or IG's Groove Family Cyco, then don't bother with the new material, as it's pretty much a cross between both albums, but even less interesting. I happen to like both of those albums, but I must say the new material is disappointing. Let's take a look:
Prime Cuts is a "best of" album featuring 11 classic ST tracks, two re-recorded tracks, and two new tracks. First of all, "best of" albums for metal bands are pointless. If you like a song off an album, you buy the album. Chances are you like most or all of it. So it matters not what classic songs were chosen for this "best of", but what new tracks were included. "Join the Army" and "Possessed to Skate" were re-recorded with the new lineup and turned out very good. They're very heavy, with a touch of Infectious Grooves-style funkiness. "Berserk!" and "Feeding the Addiction" are two new recordings that sound like, you guessed it, a cross between the last ST and IG albums, but not as good. They're too straightforward and there's not enough substance in the lyrics. And Christ…there's no Rocky George, damnit!! And the artwork is pretty bad, although the back cover is cool.
Friends and Family is a compilation of unreleased material from ST and related bands. Six ST/IG songs appear, resembling a cross between the last ST and IG albums, but leaning more towards IG. Funky bass and guitar, classic Clark heaviness, and rock solid drumming make the tracks worth listening to, but not overly exciting. Two unreleased Cyco Miko tracks appear that sound exactly like Mike's solo album (Lost My Brain Once Again), which was a punk album. I don't like punk, and wasn't too excited over his punk album, so these two tracks don't really do anything for me. I do, however, like the classical guitar intro to "Sweet Disharmony". And I was surprised that "Ain't Messin' Around" (which was released as a bonus track on Lost My Brain…in Australia) didn't appear on this CD. It should have been, seeing that it's better than most of the songs on the solo album. The Funeral Party somehow relates to ST, but sucks too bad to even care. Creeper, which was Mike Clark's rap-metal project, appears with two songs. These tracks were disappointing, and don't compare to the two tracks that were on the bonus disc of the Australian Suicidal for Life album. Those tracks had great riffs, and more variation in the vocal department. But these tracks lack power and have rather stupid lyrics. Musical Heroin somehow relates to ST (I think Mike Muir does vocals), but their two songs are too electronic.
Now we come to the very latest release: Six the Hard Way. As the title suggests, there are six ST songs on this EP. The first two songs are new ST punk songs. They're better than Mike's solo album material in every aspect…they're heavier, more convincing, and a little more varied. Then there's two more unreleased songs from '96/'97, which are along the same lines as those ST/IG songs mentioned above…funky, yet heavy. Lastly, there are two live songs: "Fascist Pig" is played well, but is no big deal. "I Saw Your Mommy" has a great disco intro, but transforms into the regular version after the first verse. Good song, but I'd rather hear a full-length disco version rather than a regular live version. And the cover artwork could be better.
In summary, only diehard Suicidal Tendencies and Infectious Grooves fans should check this stuff out. The musicianship is top notch. Josh Paul is more than capable of filling Robert's shoes. In other words, he is awesome! And Brooks Wackerman is an incredible drummer. So the new material is good, but doesn't compare to the old stuff. My main problems are: #1, no Rocky George, the undisputed guitar solo god. Mike Clark is capable of doing great leads and should do so in ST to spice things up. #2, Mike Muir's lyrics are not as emotional and in-depth as older material. He needs to write more, and repeat lines less. I guess you have to appreciate the new stuff for what it is and not what it should be, but I sure do miss the old ST and good ol' Sarsippius.