Sick Of It All - Outtakes For The Outcast (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Sick Of It All

Outtakes For The Outcast (2004)

Fat Wreck Chords

The fact that Outtakes For The Outcast sounds like such a solid, singular piece of work says one of two things: either Sick Of It All's maintained a consistent level of quality over the years, even on their b-sides, or Sick Of It All really hasn't shifted out of the same gear in their entire career. I'd argue in favour of the former view, and for that reason this is a rarities compilation that would impress even fair-weather fans of the band.

Sick Of It All have avoided the typical pitfalls of the rarities compilation. This means that studio material that was buried for a reason is still buried, and what's on the record is all quite interesting stuff. They've also forgone the usual chronological ordering of these records and have sequenced Outtakes quite well. What results is a record that, despite featuring material from 1992 to present, flows quite nicely and never loses the listener's attention (not that a band like Sick Of It All really had that problem to begin with).

Along with hard hitting original cuts like "I Believe" and "Stood For Nothing," there's a number of interesting covers included here. You're treated to two Sham 69 tunes, classics from the Misfits and Husker Du and a resurrection of a song by 80s Oi act The Last Resort. All of these are well done, but their renditions of tunes like "Borstal Breakout" really hammer home the tangible connection between Sick Of It All's NYC hardcore sound and the punk roots of the style. Of course the inclusion of the Oi / punk covers show the band in a slightly less heavy, less metallic path than they've taken in recent years, but there's never a moment where the SOIA's own style and personality don't make the songs their own.

The record includes live versions of "Never Measure Up" and "The Future Is Mine," both from the shows where their well-received Live In A Dive record was recorded. The album wraps up on a surprising note, with a formerly bootleg House Of Pain remix of "Just Look Around." It was wise to leave this to the end, as DJ Lethal's hip-hop would have severely killed the momentum mid-album, but it's an amusing way to cap off such a commendably filler-free and to the point b-sides record.