Consumed - Hit for Six (retro review) (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Hit for Six (retro review) (1999)

Fat Wreck Chords

Consumed is a powerful-sounding band. That’s probably the most important thing to remember when talking about any of their releases. Whether their songs are melodic, metal, even a slow-burn ballad.. their music hits you like a brick.

Consumed followed up their 1998 EP Breakfast at Pappa’s (on Fat Wreck Chords) with their debut LP Hit for Six in 1999 (also on Fat). Pappa’s was produced by Andy Sneap, a notable English producer who is best known for working with metal acts like Exodus and Napalm Death. It was an absolute banger. If it had a fault, it would be that the final sound of the album was a bit noisy and muddy. Often Steve Ford’s vocals, as well as the backing vocals, were lost behind the instruments.

This is speculation, but I’m guessing Hit for Six enjoyed the benefits of a bigger budget, and Sneap was able to bring out a much crisper and clearer, yet solid sound- putting together what I believe to be one of the best-sounding punk albums of the 90s, rivaling anything Fat-mainstay Ryan Greene at Motor Studios worked on.

Straight from the lead track, “Sunnyside Up,” the amount of power and energy on the album is self-evident. Consumed continue to mix their styles- when they do melodic punk (the aforementioned “Sunnyside Up,” “Wake Up with a Smile,” “Lead the Way”), it is some of the best you’ve ever heard. When they bring the tempo down a bit (for Consumed, that is) they can be a little more hardcore and the songs can take on the semblance of a malevolent tone while still being melodic (“King Kong Song,” “Do the Duchess”). Consumed always have a knack for making a song terribly melodic (and catchy), regardless of what particular genre of punk/metal they are dipping their toes in. Try listening to “Chop Suicide” and keep your head from bopping along with the bass. I dare you!

For me there are three main ingredients that make Consumed so special: The phenomenal song compositions; the incredibly fast, energetic, and precise percussion; and Steve Ford’s hard-nosed, straight-forward and, dare I say it, almost thug-like vocals. Even on the most positive-themed songs he sounds like he’ll whip your ass into being happy about it.

From a popularity standpoint, Hit for Six is likely the band’s biggest release, and nearly the high-point of their career, although one could argue that the inclusion of “Heavy Metal Winner” from the Pappa’s EP on the best-selling Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 video game in 2000 probably did them wonders. However, that year, one-half of the band, including Steve’s brother Mike, would depart. They would replenish those members, but their 2002 follow-up Pistols at Dawn would mark their first album not released by Fat, instead being put out by Golf Records and BYO Records. This release would be divisive for many fans. Some were put off by some of the more true “metal” music, the production, or even the fact that there is a... *gulp*... SLOW SONG! Consumed would break-up a year later.

Not taking into account the band’s 2015 reunion (and I can attest that they still rock harder than most), during the first stage of their tenure they only did one thing that could possibly be better than Hit for Six, and that is the song “Dear James” on the Live Fat, Die Young comp (2001).

Simply put, Hit for Six isn’t just the apex of Consumed’s early career, but also a high-water mark of not only late-90s/early-00s punk rock, but also should have a seat in the pantheon of the best punk albums ever.