Through two decades Sick of It All have become a New York hardcore institution, inspiring countless hardcore, punk and metal bands alike along the way. If one was unable to follow SOIA all through their history, then evidence is still abundant on their 20-song tribute album, Our Impact Will Be Felt, where a number of devastating performances are turned in from friends and followers.
Rise Against are no strangers to blistering, powerful opening tracks, and it's just as evident in their stunning version of "Built to Last." Not only is it arguably more intense than the original, but Tim McIlrath absolutely nails the more melodious bridge with his smooth, clean singing. The melodic hardcore ambassadors not only usher in things wonderfully, but they provide what's perhaps the best track on Our Impact.
Another mighty standout is Comeback Kid's "Step Down," who somehow adds an upbeat party tone to the song. Apparently this was new-ish vocalist Andrew Neufeld's first recorded output with the band in his new role, but he sounds relatively comfortable with his bandmates as they shout along the raucous gang vocals. That band's biggest influence, Bane, hardly phones in their own contribution; "We Stand Alone" sounds better than most of Bane's catalog, as the band pushes it along at an urgent, mean clip, making for another of Our Impact's best.
Elsewhere, Unearth's brawny metalcore is toned down just a bit to highlight the metallic overtones of "Clobberin' Time / What's Going On"; the band shuns worries their heavy outset would be overwhelming by simply keeping things a little more straightforward. Even the normally deliberate Hatebreed blasts through "Rat Pack" at a frenetic pace. Ignite balances aggression with their super melodic vibes perfectly on "Cease Fire." Surprisingly, Pennywise's blast of "My Life" is one of the tribute's more noteworthy moments, with the band nailing the tempo changes and burly gang vocals bubbling up. Kill Your Idols' "Friends Like You" is delivered nicely, but the slight change in production value disrupts the album's flow a bit. Sepultura's "Scratch the Surface"? Not bad at all. Most Precious Blood's "Alone" is unsurprisingly solid. Stretch Arm Strong's "Busted" finds the band matching that oddly spazzy, rambling feel. Walls of Jericho completely ignore their normal stylistic vibes in their valiant effort in "Us vs. Them." Save for Battle Hymns, Suicide Machines have rarely sounded more intense than on "Goatless," definitely kicking it up a few notches.
Sour notes might include Madball and Bleeding Through's half-baked submissions. And while there's no questioning the influence Sick of It All had on No Redeeming Social Value, their cut of "World Full of Hate" is just bland; following them is Napalm Death, an interesting choice, but one that provides relative white noise in the form of the muddily recorded "Who Sets the Rules" -- too bad, as these are the tribute's last two tracks.
Admittedly, a couple of Sick of It All's albums are missing representation here and Our Impact Will Be Felt certainly ends on a couple less than overwhelming notes. However, mostly thanks to its gang of characters Our Impact Will Be Felt admirably captures the influence and importance Sick of It All has blessed hardcore punk with in years gone by.
Bouncing Souls - Good Lookin' Out [clip]
Rise Against - Built to Last
Kill Your Idols - Friends Like You
First Blood - Just Look Around
Napalm Death - Who Sets the Rules