SUICIDAL TENDENCIES are among the elite crew of pioneers and kings of crossover thrash who began with the humblest of beginnings in Venice, California in the early eighties. The group didn’t just revel in an aesthetic of the underbelly of West Coast street life—it lived it. And it marched directly across the grain of the ironically conservative realm of supposedly countercultural punk rock music. SUICIDAL TENDENCIES was a street-punk band that was as uncompromising as it was original. Following the 1983 release of its self-titled debut—an absolute banger that had a light-hearted appeal whilst fully capturing the spirit of teen angst—the collective was banned for over five years from playing in its Los Angeles stomping grounds due to ties to gangs and the associated violence.
The legend has stuck around for over three decades, bringing us to “STill Cyco Punk After All These Years”, a re-recording and updated version of their iconic frontman’s 1995 solo album: “Lost my Brain! (Once Again)”. The California band had taken a noticeable turn toward heavy metal and thrash metal during that time period, so the original release, which came out during SUICIDAL TENDENCIES‘ brief hiatus, was clearly an outlet for Mike Muir (aka Cyco Miko) to express his punk leanings properly and clearly. With the revisiting of said release on 2018’s “STill Cyco Punk After All These Years”, the legendary act has beefed up the songs that were originally churned out two decades ago. While “Lost my Brain! (Once Again)” interestingly featured SEX PISTOLS’ Steve Jones and EXCEL‘s Adam Siegel, both on guitars, version 2.0 now includes the pummeling talents of heavy-music drum-god Dave Lombardo.
There’s a decidedly punk rock feel to the material without question. “STill Cyco Punk After All These Years” isn’t a crossover thrash album, nor a straight up thrash metal album, by any stretch of the imagination. It’s true to the core sound and spirit of SUICIDAL‘s earliest material, peppered with a dash of the fun-loving heart and approach of Muir‘s funk metal supergroup, INFECTIOUS GROOVES. “I Love Destruction” starts things off with a charging old-school punk surge that benefits from Lombardo‘s belligerence. The properly placed gang vocals throughout—especially on the burly “F.U.B.A.R”, “Nothin’ to Lose” and “All I Ever Get”—add to the anthemic aspect underpinning the entirety of “STill Cyco Punk After All These Years”. Most importantly on the vocal front, Muir sounds as good as ever, which is quite impressive for a man who is 55.
Some purists argue that art should never be revisited, that the initial snapshot is the vision that should remain unchanged forever. But the fact of the matter is that “STill Cyco Punk After All These Years” is a better version of what was an enjoyable collection of songs the first time around. The performances are better, and it’s harder hitting without sacrificing the street-punk feel. “STill Cyco Punk After All These Years” isn’t mandatory nor essential listening, but it’s an enjoyable SUICIDAL TENDENCIES album that captures the early days’ essence.