Suburban Lockdown - Laid to Waste (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Suburban Lockdown

Laid to Waste (2007)

Durty Mick

Agnostic Front can take credit as the inspiration for countless lacklustre releases that are devoid of passion and creative spirit but still proudly wave the flag of hardcore. Florida's Suburban Lockdown are a band that takes a lot from AF but actually manage to turn out a surprisingly agreeable listen with their sophomore long-player, Laid to Waste.

Sure, the sounds that come from your stereo when you throw this album in won't exactly be anything you haven't heard before; you've got no-frills punk rock played with some `80s American hardcore and street punk influences. That isn't necessarily a bad thing either, since sometimes it is great to not have to throw everything into a sub-sub-genre. While lacking any true standout songs, the band shows enough panache throughout to sustain the listener's attention through all 14 tracks. This is exemplified in "Age of Destruction" with its distinctive bassline and gang vocals that I stress are used sparingly and "Laid to Waste" where the band is able to keep a three-and-a-half-minute hardcore punk song interesting by taking the risk of having multiple guitar parts. A number of the songs do tend to get a bit monotonous though, which is in part due to the band using the same trick of a repeating phrase or sentence (see: "Altered Reality," "Twisted") for the chorus.

The one facet of Suburban Lockdown that does end up being pretty refreshing is their lyrical focus. While some bands can sound like they are shadowboxing invisible enemies for a whole album, these guys tend to really look outside themselves and even beyond the "scene" (shocking, I know). They go from urban decay ("Laid to Waste"), to intrusive government bodies ("National Security Agency"), shallow trend-hoppers ("80's Baby") and the plight of the unskilled worker ("Living Wage").

Though you might not remember too much of Laid to Waste after spinning it, while it is there it is a fun listen. In a scene where things can sometimes come off as self-centred and rather mindless, Suburban Lockdown at least show they have enough sense to look beyond the end of the pit. The recording on the album could use a little more grit, especially considering the subject matter, but a tip of the hat to them nonetheless.