Sick of it All - Call To Arms

Let’s get where I’m coming from out of the way at the start. As far as I’m concerned, SOIA are the best hardcore band on the planet. Great albums, and live they are phenomenal. Plus, this “community” that is talked about by hardcore bands and fans seems to exist with SOIA more than any other HC band I’ve seen. So, I’ve been kinda looking forward to this one.

And what do you get? Well, there’s no surprises here. It’s just pure Sick of it All, nothing more, nothing less. So if you absolutely hate them, well this is unlikely to change your mind. But the thing with SOIA is they do actually have good songs. If this isn’t your first choice of music, then sure, you have to listen a few times and acclimatise. But that’s true of any music. And once you’ve adjusted to Lou’s vocals, which though shouted are also clear, and the style, speed and structure of the music, then it can all begin to seep through. huge chanting chorus. Short sharp bursts. Nice.

Let Go opens things up, speeding along for a minute. Call To Arms is the anthemic title track, while Potential for a Fall rides in on the back of a bass groove and a vicious riff. It’s the little variation that for my mind helps to set the band apart from so many of their peers.

The Future Is Mine calls to mind the Scratch The Surface era SOIA. No bad thing when you consider what a classic album that is. Falling Apart features the riff that should convince the metal fan that’s not given this style of a music a chance to remedy that. And sharpish. And of course, we all know that Sanctuary was also the name of a Maiden track! Ooh, you little stirrer Dave. Hindsight features a bit of melody in the opening riff. Oh yeah, it can be done, and then it hits the chant of “life is what you make it.”

At only 33 minutes, including the fucking hidden track, there’s an initial feeling of disappointment that it’s all over. But then of course you realise that it leaves you wanting more and there’s no risk of boredom sinking in. And what more could you want from an album? SOIA are back, and they’re on form.

“Sounds like you’re trying to convince people to try this Dave. Now why do something as silly as that? We all know that the hardcore scene has to stay nice and clique’d. Closed off to the general public, cos we don’t want people coming in and liking it. We’ll get all those trendies and it’ll destroy the scene.”

Ah yes, but it prides itself on spirit of community. SOIA is the best place to see this as far as I’m concerned. If you want to put the message about, then let people have a little peek. The laws of nature mean that those not interested will soon go away. Don’t fret. The community will survive. SOIA aren’t going to suddenly sell millions of copies of their albums. Relax. Enjoy your Call To Arms.

Available on FatWreckChords