Suicidal Tendencies - Freedumb (retro review) (Cover Artwork)

Suicidal Tendencies

Freedumb (retro review) (1999)

Suicidal Records

Crossover thrashers Suicidal Tendencies reigned in their 19th year as a band with the 1999 release of Freedumb, a powerhouse that remains the band's best collaboration to date.

Quite notable credit was due to producer/engineer Paul Northfield, who beefed choice guitar tones and executed a fantastic mix of Suicidal's unique, heavy energy, but what hoisted Freedumb in the air were both the stellar bass playing of Josh Paul, and the unbelievable drumming of Infectious Grooves/Vandals familiar Brooks Wackerman. Wackerman would move to Bad Religion just two years later, incorporating the same amount of responsibility in re-purposing a 30 year old punk band.

Freedumb made little attempt to introduce ST's more funk influenced songs, and instead tore immediately into aggressive vocals and double time drums. The title track hooked neatly to the drum filled intro of "Ain't Gonna Take It" and the immaculate slap-bass opening "Scream Out." "Half Way Up My Head" visited the funkier Suicidal fundamentals, but Wackerman's clever drum nuances took the odd crossover style to new levels.

"Cyco Vision" was an obvious winner, as the tune found it's way to the original "Tony Hawk Pro Skater" video game, but regardless, the two minute song ripped. "I Ain't Like You" banged open with more unique tom-fills and double time, while "Naked" offered some needed dynamics, with quiet verses and heavy choruses. The small notch in the album would be the last breath, as "Hippie Killer," "Built to Survive," "Get Sick," and "We Are Family" were quite exclusively skate-punk, with ST's best line-up showcasing their many strengths under vocalist 'Cyco' Mike Muir's command. "I'll Buy Myself" lessened the pace, but not by much, before being completely derailed by the thrasher "Gaigan Go Home," which featured lone writer's credits to Wackerman.

The slow funky ender in "Heaven" was what it was, but drifted the colossal album to sleep at the exact 40:00 minute mark. While Suicidal's genre-crossing will always be up for conversation, FreedumbĀ is a masterpiece, and proof that a decades-standing band doesn't have to be limited to the 80's punk classics that they are anchored to.