Sick of it All – The Last Act of Defiance (Century Media)Thursday, 25th September 2014
Obviously, The Last Act of Defiance is also an Exodus song title, and a popular one at that. But it’s not like the long-running, venerable kings of New York hardcore give a flying you-know-what about such things. Being on the fringe of metal allows them to get away with such things anyway. Nevertheless, The Last Act of Defiance is the band’s 11th studio jaunt which is pretty remarkable considering their high-profile stint in major label-land during the early 90s when they were roped into the Biohazard/Pantera conversation. Hard to believe that was 20 years ago…
Fourteen jams to be found here, a lot of which are the quick variety. The band’s metallic muscle – rooted in heavy punk and punk/metal – is still quite intact across the album’s running order. Paired with the band’s trademark gang shouts, they gain a nice head of steam, like on “Sound the Alarm” and “Get Bronx.” The gravel-scraped vocals of Lou Koller are certainly formidable as they are identifiable, providing the necessary color and spunk to the more upwardly metal “Part of History” (what is that? A near blast-beat from Sick of it All?) and “Act Your Age,” which sees the ageless vocals spit some rather rapid-fire verse lines.
Twenty-five years removed from their Blood, Sweat, and No Tears debut and Sick of it All remains a total bastion of metallic hardcore. Given their union with metal stronghold Century Media, there’s a certain amount of credence to their literal crossover effect; they’re one of the few from a punk background that can make hay in our lovely metal scene. As for The Last Act of Defiance, it’s dutiful, productive, and unflinching, rife with several would-be anthems and tales from the hard side. Madball may have coined the “As real as it gets” term, but Sick of it All embody said term about as much as anyone.