Sick of it All – Yours Truly

Sick of it All
Yours Truly

Sick of It All, a band synonymous with the NYC hardcore sound, is still going strong. There have been a few changes in the Sick of It All sound, changes that should net the boys their biggest fan base yet. Never fear though, you’re not going to be screaming “sellout!” because you’ll be too busy shouting along with the band. While other hardcore stalwarts (most notably Earth Crisis) have attempted a more accessible sound and ended up sounding as flaccid as John Wayne Bobbit at 8am, Sick of It All prove that you can stay true to your vision and your old time fans while also keeping things fresh and exciting. Overall, quite an accomplishment.
Let me firstly say, although there are some new elements in the sound, this is HARDcore. Brooklyn represent! All the classic lyrical elements are present, and as intense as ever. In “Disco Sucks Fuck Everything” Lou Koller (who has one of the coolest screaming voices in rock) shouts, “One day a real rain is gonna come/and clean up the mess!” They mean it, man! The themes of unity and integrity still run strong throughout and will surely satisfy all of your floorpunching friends. The future hardcore classic, “Hello Pricks,” is an anthemic reminder not to be a dick at the show, but there’s more at work here. The chorus of “Don’t be a prick in the roses” says it all: The fact that Koller refers to his fans as roses – traditional signifiers of beauty and love – is a wonderful sentiment. In the world of hardcore, a statement that mushy takes a lot of guts, and it shows the band’s dedication to their fans. (Hey Fred Durst, put that middle finger down and take notes!) I dare you not to sing along with the chorus by the end of the song! Its good to hear Koller still telling it like it is, expressing love for his friends and disdain for his enemies with equal zeal.
The impressive part of this record, and the element that sets this apart from your average hardcore release, is the guitar work and songwriting. “District” finds the band working through a noisy riff-fest reminiscent of Quicksand. These guys can really play and they’re not afraid to show their skills. “Turn My Back” has a thick simple groove that sounds as influenced by AC/DC as it is by Minor Threat. Who knew they could kick it out like that? “America” is probably the biggest stylistic leap for the band. This song features a major chord progression (when was the last time you heard that at a hardcore show?) and a pop song structure. Its not a hardcore song at all, until you stop to consider the absolute intensity these guys are assaulting our ears with. Somewhere along the line, the band got tired of typical straight-ahead riffing. The results are exciting. This isn’t a record that you’ll listen to once and then forget about.
We can still count on Sick of It All to deliver the quality goods. I recommend “Yours Truly” to anyone who enjoys heavy music. If you like the hardcore sound, this band is at the top of their game. If you’ve never been exposed to hardcore but have always been curious, this is a great place to start. Screw “Nu-Metal:” check out this record and discover what it really means to be heavy.