First of all, I don't think there are any plans to release this album in the U.S.*, which is a damn shame. Taste The Poison is an extremely solid piece of melodic skatepunk, and easily one of the band's best releases.
From what I gather, the Satanic Surfers are reasonably popular in Europe, and especially in their native Sweden. Though they've sold over 200,000 records worldwide, they never really had a good underground following in America, at least not to the extent of fellow Swedes Millencolin, or even T(I)NC. This is presumably because they've never had a full U.S. tour... or actually played any shows at all in the U.S. as far as I know, though I very well may be wrong.
If anyone is unfamiliar with the band, they play extremely fast melodic skatepunk. Think of pretty much any 90's Epitaph skatepunk band, speed it up a bit, make it catchy as fuck, and you've got the Satanic Surfers.
The overall sound of Taste The Poison isn't much of a departure from any of their previous albums, though it's a definite improvement over 2002's Unconsciously Confined, which saw the band's songwriting decrease in complexity. This record is more of a return to the style of my personal favorite Surfers album, Going Nowhere Fast. The drumming is pretty fast, but it's not all just midless pounding, as there's some original ideas shown here and there. The guitars are your usual skatepunk fare, with maybe a little more metalic riffing than normal, and damn technically proficent. The bass is handled well, though I find it's not quite high enough in the mix, sometimes being drowned out. Everything comes together really fucking tight. The vocals are fantastic if you enjoy this type of music, with just the right amount of variety, and harmonies that are absolutely spot on perfect. This album will have you singing along at the top of your lungs.
Lyrically, I wouldn't say this is outstanding, but I'll give them a pass as I assume their first language isn't English. Considering this fact, though, the lyrics are pretty strong, and certainly better than the majority of American pop-punk bands, and they can write a better song than I can write a review (which isn't saying much). A few songs tend to get a little corny, such as the cheesy as hell titled "U+I R1," which is, of course, what they chose as the first MP3 they released, silly Swedes. Aside from that, the album is generally about politics, both personal ("Weight On My Shoulders") and governmental ("Lead Us To The Gallows," "Down In Fire"). There seems to be a lot of venting going on here, and the record is better off for it.
All in all, this obviouly isn't going to change music or reinvent punk, but then again, who wants it to? I just wanted a good, true skatepunk CD, which is getting somewhat rare these days (at least compared to the flood of metalcore and Tatecore garbage still spewing from seemingly everywhere). The Surfers deliver an album that is even better than I ever hoped it would be. If you want a new and original sound, this ain't it. But if you just want a kickass slab of non-whiny punk that makes you wanna jump around like an asshole and sing along as loud as you can, you can't go wrong with Taste The Poison. The highest praise I can give this album is that if you're a fan of the genre, it's without a doubt worth whatever the import price is.
One last note: I actually think that MP3 is one of the album's weakest tracks. Standouts would include:
- "Weight On My Shoulders"
- "Restless Anger"
- "Who Prospers?"
- "False Ambitions"
- "Down In Fire"
* - [Editor's Note: Site policy usually dictates that we hold off on posting reviews of releases until their North American release date. This record was released yesterday in Europe, as it's the only geographical location Bad Taste Records distributes to. AlmostPunkEnough is correct about no release being in the works for the U.S., as well as North America in general, so we're forgoing the rules temporarily so there's at least one Swedish punk group who doesn't get the shaft for their album not being out in the U.S.