Suicidal Tendencies - Collection (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Suicidal Tendencies

Collection (2013)

Valberge Recordings

コレクション (aka Collection) pulls the daring feat of aiming towards both collectors and newbies. The fact is after their debut album, Suicidal Tendencies radically changed their sound. Instead of being a west coast punk band that flirted with both nihilism and having a good time for the sake of itself, they rapidly converted into a crossover, or even straight-ahead thrash metal band. While Suicidal Tendencies are basically a different band now and have been for a while, コレクション makes the argument that the band's mid-period is somewhat unfairly overlooked.

コレクション culls tracks from 1988's How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can't Even Smile Today through 1994's Suicidal for Life. On opening tracks like "How Will I laugh Tomorrow," the band make their argument as one of the underrated thrash bands in the genre. Rocky George's guitar soars like Dan Spitz's. "Waking the Dead" is a crushing '80s mosh number that establishes a killer riff without dropping into sluggish groove metal. When viewed from the context of metal, and not short, sharp punk, it actually works pretty well.

Likewise, the disc finds vocalist Mike Muir trying out new vocal styles. At one point, he growls like Slayer's Tom Araya. At another, he sings almost in a power metal intonation. But it's clear on tracks like "Waking the Dead" that he's most comfortable in his natural Lemmy-meets-hardcore delivery, and it works really well. Those songs storm along with the energy of Motörhead while retaining a metallic edge and could easily pass for, and even beat a few S.O.D. songs.

While longtime fans likely have all those tracks, the disc slips in two things of which collectors might take interest. First, there's an unreleased live track featuring both "War Inside My Head" and "I Want More" taken from a 1990 recording. That's notable because it features ST's metal incarnation taking on their earlier, punkish material. The band convert the tune to their heavy, more massive sound and frankly, it works. Second, the package itself is a work of art. Featuring a skull with the classic ST flipped brim, the cardboard case can be unfolded into a three dimensional model that can look pretty cool sitting on a shelf.

Recommended for hardcore collectors or those interested in checking out ST's middle period.