Slapshot - Tear It Down (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Tear It Down (2005)


So the Bruins won't ice a team this winter, but that's not going to stop Boston's hockey-inspired hardcore stalwarts from raging on. Twenty years into the game, you pretty much know what to expect from Slapshot, and Tear It Down certainly won't change your opinions. Jack Kelley's still growling out spiteful lyrics and the band's hardcore remains as fast and raging as they can muster. To their credit Slapshot sounds as determined and furious as ever, and there are no signs here of are any plan to slow it down.

Slapshot put their best foot forward with "Relight The Fire," an amazingly powerful lead off track and one of the band's better recent tunes. Of course over the album's seven songs Choke manages to spew bile over as many topics as he can. "Fuck New York" swings out at his city's nemesis and tries to do as much damage in as few words as possible. It's notoriously dumb and as a result completely hilarious, but one suspects that's the point. "Rap Sucks" is far less effective though. While FNY's target is a rival town (city rivalries are by their very nature irrational but they're something we accept and can have fun with) "Rap Sucks" just makes a broad-stroked attack on an entire genre of music. It's not funny (Choke keeps mockingly yelling "Yo! Yo! Yo!") nor is it informed ("sorry to break the news to you kid / but you'll never be black / you can listen to this shit all you want / but it just proves you're a dumbass") and this many years after hip hop overtook rock in the mainstream it simply comes off as contemptuous and bitter. However, when they target something relevant Slapshot is far more successful. "Spread The Fear" turns the band's fury at the Bush administration's endless alerts and scare-mongering tactics and it's one of the album's strongest tracks as a result.

The follow up to 2003's Digital Warfare is pretty brief but the length feels appropriate. There's a tolerance level most people have for unrelenting hardcore with oft-ridiculous lyrics and Tear It Down stays just under that. Fans also get their money's worth with around 20 minutes of surprisingly high quality video footage on the enhanced portion of the CD. Unlike many video additions this is very well prepared and nicely tied into the album art.

Slapshot's not winning any friends this time around and I suspect they're perfectly happy with that. If you love or hate this band the fact that this is a pretty consistent Slapshot release isn't going to change your opinion.