No Mercy Fool! / The Suicidal Family
The first band I ever saw in concert was Suicidal Tendencies around 1991 on a tour supporting their Lights…Camera…Revolution! album, so I think I’m always going to have a soft spot for them, (despite Infectious Grooves and some early, scary gangsta posturing). And one of my favorite parts of the recent Radio Silence hardcore retrospective was an earnest letter from Mike Muir bemoaning the reputation for violence that Suicidal was saddled with, despite the fact that the other 3/4ths of the letter describes various fights and beefs. But fuck it, man, it’s nice to have them back, even if the circumstances are rather muddled. No Mercy Fool/The Suicidal Family is pitched uncomfortably between a reissue, rarities release and a new album. The album is a selection of tracks from Suicidal Tendencies’ classic second album Join the Army, a selection of tracks from the second album from Suicidal guitarist Mike Clark’s speed metal project No Mercy (which coincidentally also featured Muir on vocals), as well as the Suicidal classic Possessed to Skate, but all in radically re-recorded new versions. I can only guess at the logic of cherry-picking tracks from two highly sought after “classic”/archival albums and shoehorning them together on one half-complete album in newer versions instead of giving the original songs the full rereleases they deserve. Maybe they lost the rights to the originals?
So despite the fact that everyone is going to end up a little disappointed no matter what, lemme just say this as a palliative: Suicidal Tendencies are in fine, primitive form. Gone are the funk and mainstream metal experiments, they’re back to thrashing it out at breakneck, fuck-you speeds. Though the clean lead guitar lines are a little distracting when contrasted to everyone else’s atavistic joy at bashing it out like a bunch of pissed-off teenagers. The Suicidal material still shines in the reinterpretation, anguished, manic hardcore. Muir keeps up ably, yelping out his frustrated lyrics in a strangulated gasp like a lad twenty years his junior. The No Mercy songs, which I’ve never heard before, are an even more pleasant surprise. Hyperspeed thrash chugga-chugga that almost reaches the point of sublime gonzoid insanity topple all over one another like tattooed dominos. Now, how about the reissues already?
Suicidal Tendencies: www.suicidaltendencies.com