Released: 2007, Earache Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Listening to SSS’ debut, SHORT SHARP SHOCK, it’s like getting into a time machine and going back to 1985 (minus the skateboard and Chip & Pepper shorts, of course!). The U.K. natives fully immerse themselves in the hardcore/punk/thrash crossover movement originally started by bands like D.R.I. and Suicidal Tendencies in the mid-eighties and hit on the retro-cool quotient currently tapped by Earache Records labelmates, Municipal Waste. Throwing in some Bay Area riffs that owe more than a passing nod to KILL ‘EM ALL and SHOW NO MERCY, SSS is hardly re-inventing the wheel however, SHORT SHARP SHOCK remains an album chock full of mosh-worthy grooves, hook-filled riffs and plenty of nostalgic moments for both the young ‘uns and the old-schoolers.
Earache Records has snapped the band up and re-released their debut (with one bonus track) which came out on Dead & Gone Records in 2006. Tracks like “Overload” and “Monster” go full throttle with Peter Broom’s whammy-bar-diving guitar solos that lean more towards thrash. “The Beast” and “I’m Sick” could be lifted right off KILL ‘EM ALL, RIDE THE LIGHTNING or any number of Bay Area thrash gems from the eighties. “L.B.P.” perfectly encompasses the crossover genre with a quick blast of aggression and speed coupled with turbo-charged riffing and gang-style shouts in the chorus. Foxy’s vocals are rather unassuming and at times are reminiscent of Ice-T’s caustic bark on the Body Count albums. A tribute to Metallica’s Cliff Burton is found on “Black Night White Light” and Mark Magill’s use of bass-distortion pedals is a nice nod to Burton’s shining moments on “Anesthesia” and “Orion.” On the other hand, two instrumentals—the aptly-named “Quiet Before The Storm” and Gearin’ Up For Getting’ Down”—seem more in tune with NWOBHM bands as each moves along at a mid-paced gallop with definite focus on building a hook-filled riff.
Unapologetically drawing from bands and albums that spawned a genre twenty years ago, originality will never be an accusation aimed at SSS but taken for what it is, SHORT SHARP SHOCK amounts to an enjoyable release. This band seems like they would put on a kick-ass live show with energetic moshpits and an aggressive vibe. Fans of Anthrax, Suicidal Tendencies, early Metallica and Slayer and even Body Count will find much to love about SHORT SHARP SHOCK.
KILLER KUTS: “Warhorse,” “Overload,” “Monster,” “Gearin’ Up For Getting’ Down,” “The Beast,” “L.B.P.,” “I’m Sick”