This is Suicidal’s first album (released in 1983, the same year as Metallica’s “Kill ‘Em All”), and as one listens, one can hear why, 22 years later, Suicidal Tendencies is still respected as one of the best crossover bands that grew out of the incredible union of punk and thrash in the 1980’s. On this album, Suicidal exhibits more punk attitude than metal, but the addition of phenomenal solos to scorching punk tunes like “Two-Sided Politics” makes for a highly entertaining album. Mike Muir’s vocals can be a bit repetitive at times, but one would be hard pressed to find a more energetic and cathartic singer. One of this album’s best features is its production; it was engineered by Randy Burns, notable for his work with Megadeth on 1986’s “Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?” album, and the overall sound is raw, abrasive, and punk-like while retaining a clarity beyond comparable bands at the time. This combination of low-fi DIY spirit and musical clarity allows all of the punk attitude to be dominant while letting all of the instruments have an equal share of the spotlight, none overpowering any other within the mix.
The best songs are “Suicide’s An Alternative/You’ll Be Sorry,” “Two-Sided Politics,” “I Shot the Devil,” “Won’t Fall In Love Today,” “Institutionalized” (a true classic), “Memories of Tomorrow,” “Fascist Pig,” and “I Want More.” Really, the only bad song is the last, as it seems to have been included on the album as filler. Also, the song “Subliminal,” which addresses the subject of subliminal messages on television, contains funny and odd sound clips that continue underneath the instruments throughout the song.
Overall, an excellent and influential album.