Suicidal Tendencies – ‘World Gone Mad’ [Review]
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When your band’s been going for well over three decades, keeping things consistently fresh is a tough ask. Mike Muir and Suicidal Tendencies have nonetheless managed it, mostly through a long line of lineup changes and the assimilation of a wide range of genres, from punk to funk to prog, into one singular STyle.
That said, the latest Suicidal Tendencies lineup is literally something else, a thrash fan’s wet dream come true. Suicidal Tendencies Version Fuck Knows By Now comes complete not only with brand new bassist Ra Diaz and guitar mangler Jeff Pogan, but also Dave Lombardo – the skin-beating ex-Slayer legend who barely needs any further introduction.
Time for some serious thrash.
World Gone Mad is nothing if not hectic. Advance single Clap Like Ozzy sees Suicidal Tendencies punch through an instant classic with intimidating tightness, making time for a wicked slap bass breakdown and shred guitar that actually grooves. That song alone has probably gotten you salivating and ready to devour this album in its entirety…so what else is to come?
The New Degeneration fucking terrified me. It’s easily one of World Gone Mad’s standout songs, seeing Dave Lombardo fuel tempo change after tempo change, each one one notch higher, until your ears can barely keep up. If it sounds like too much, it’s probably a sign you need to hear faster.
No matter how fast you try to hear, though, you’re still going to be floored by the guitar work on World Gone Mad. The solos are generally as over the top as it’s possible to get, blistering torrents of notes raging from your speakers and consuming all in their path. The new Dean Pleasants-Jeff Pogan six-string team deliver some of the sickest axe action you’ve ever heard on a Suicidal Tendencies album, hitting some all-time highs with apparent effortlessness.
Meanwhile, Mike Muir – Suicidal Tendencies’ sole original remaining member – holds his own, too. Get Your Fight On is a winning moment, its aggressive title almost a red herring, the song itself veering close to ballad territory while Muir shines with a signature almost-but-not-quite-spoken-word vocal. Then we’re back into Thrash-Master World before Get Your Fight On ends and we drop into title track World Gone Mad, an exceptionally rare weak spot that sees Suicidal Tendencies – a name deservedly synonymous with funk metal – come off like a second-rate Rage Against The Machine.
The disappointment is short-lived, though. Although World Gone Mad’s remaining tracks sometimes cling closely to the by-now-established formula of alternating thrash/bass break/riff/shred solo sections, there are still plenty of parts that break away from the above and keep things interesting. Happy Never After is an accessible, chunky stomper; One Finger Salute boasts a great title but remains formulaic; Damage Control is my second personal highlight, a groove-metal monolith containing one of World Gone Mad’s best basslines; The Struggle Is Real will satisfy fans of hyperspeed blink-and-you’ll-miss-it thrash-punk; and Still Dying To Live is this album’s proggiest moment, a great gutter-dwelling ballad that runs for seven and a half minutes without feeling anywhere near that long thanks to everything-but-the-kitchen-sink songwriting.
Then, right at the end, we get a reworked and vastly superior version of This World, previously heard on Suicidal Tendencies’ last album, 13. I don’t want to spoil the surprises there, but trust me – it’s fucking sick.
Overall, World Gone Mad is goddamn immense. Hopefully, this version of Suicidal Tendencies is here to stay – for me, World Gone Mad belongs right up there with Lights Camera Revolution and The Art Of Rebellion. If that’s not saying something, fuck knows what is.
TMMP RATING: 95% (Essential Listening!)
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