Genre: Hard Rock / Grunge / Hardcore
01 Walk of shame
02 Fear & ferocity
03 Do you want to go bowling
04 Daddy like
05 Wasteland temptress
08 The bane of joe smolinsky
09 Half mast
10 The thing is...
11 Life of love and peace and harmony
12 Separation to survive
NYC hardcore school had its last shot during the mid 90s but it largely covered a whole decade of popular influence before definitively going off or at least just to remain in latency for the time being. Same episode happened with the “crossover metal” department that the city had in the early days (and the rest of thrash metal apparitions as well), specially called in this case is Anthrax, a band that became some sort of representative icon for the place. After the storm comes the calm. Hardcore & Crossover metal on the down we are heading to face the apparition from Grunge, the impending disaster is at sight. Let’s make the grey matter to reconnect synapse and to bring memories, some additional thoughts will be important to elaborate the following course of events. The success from Hardcore and early Thrash metal was not just the music with its levelling rage, but concisely it had more to do with the way it provoked feelings and thoughts over people. Art has always been dangerous when it can eventually trigger that lost appendix that humans have been conditioned to dismiss as unimportant, that place that use to be crammed with all kind of visual, sonic and perceptive garbage, the mind and as result from its clever usage thought. “Posside sapientiam, quia auro melior est” the man who said this is worth a million men from today. Anyway, with a sonic revolution at hand, with some minds lightning here and there and with the subsequent possibility to start revolts, there is some people that start to feel, let’s say, a little uncomfortable. Hardcore & company has to die then, or at least to lose its range over popular audience. So let’s retake the routine from the argument. Grunge was brought to the scene for a basic reason, to appease the fury and to put metal and hardcore after wings. Depression and auto annihilation is always better than proactive rebel thinkers. All that rage that metal expanded and started to conceive an objective, Grunge concentrated and redirected to the individual, the first set of emos have born! Now these small set of very worried people can sleep well since.
Yeah, yeah some people will defend Grunge music as the ultimate apparition of punk music and the testament of an alienated and forgotten post modern generation... You know what? All this was bullocks. Grunge music was inept and its legacy merely deserves some attention these days, zero bands that can be called for something valuable now second this tendency as something influential in their music. And it’s obvious why this happens, this music was so dummy, awkward and ubnoxious that it can only motivate feelings of compassion towards its original makers from us. Few bands escaped this determinism though and ill throw two names over it, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam and that’s more likely because they are not decidedly “Grunge” in sound or character. They are more of a modern set of rockers with hippie values in a time that didnt posses such ones any longer. SOS currently from the NYC and having a long time career for about 20 years is a band that reflects the influence from some of the now faded lights from both scenes described beforehand. Bits of heavy grungy guitars playing with some appeased hardcore combos and touches of psych grooves mark the transition from “Adult situations”. Back in time again, SOS accompanies us to an encounter of multiple styles and refrains that will concrete their delivery.
It got to be said that the work doesn’t lack moving or catchy riffs; it is really effective administering rocking tumults charged with heavy grooves and buzzing ravage that will make the bar shakes and the beers rapidly slip throats. “Fear and ferocity” is the first example on this forceful reversion. Reminds of the heaviness from Alice in chains with rackety riffs from Sick of it all, Noisy grunge meets midpaced hardcore riffs and strong vocal accompaniment. Next hit would be “Do you want to go bowling” in here goes rampantly with a set of catchy guitar riffs that will maintain the course of the track, not weakened on the Grunge submersion or the rapid frenzy from hardcore but conserving a middle ground between the two that results satisfactory for nodding the head while catching the tune. The heavy, down tuned side from the guitars is permanent here bringing reminiscences from Kyuss plus a very rocky appeal laced with acids that remounts to the good old days from Soundgarden. Even the vocals are similar and the guitar grooves comes waving like melting walls, Bass lines are smooth twangs that perfectly intersects with the midpaced rhythms, in between the amicable play from guitar and bass the drums advance proudly delivering an smart set of rhythmic adherences. This is an aspect really important in the band. The rhythmic variation and versatility from the drummer is really representative, his sound is rough and crude but preserves rounded textures in his technique, he is probably the sole reason on why the band doesn’t stagnate as a simple bunch of guys playing an after party amalgam of 90s rock indoctrinations. In general the instrumentation shows its expertise, the guitar for example is very technique and vibrant, knows where to jab for a good catchy rhythmic sequence but prefers to abstain for melody and normally bounds this ability to the bridges between chorus lines and rhythmic changes. This aspect is noticeable on another good track “Daddy like” infused with a very metallic buzzing song, a bit more upbeat and hardcore frequented and reporting small arpeggio executed by the guitar with a distinctive country flavour with psychedelic undertones. Finally there is “Frames” assenting on a more orthodox formula of hard rock americana full of catchy hooks.
Even though the evident complot to generate an hybrid rock formula charged with now old traditions from the past scene in the last two decades, they really manage to bring swinging rhythmic components to divert their audience. Modern rock, hybrid rock, call it as you wish, this finally serves its ultimate program and that is to rock on. Melting the crudeness from Grunge without all that trivial sense for personal tragedy and retaking the vitality from hardcore without freaking up the rhythms and supporting the heavy side from garage rock to be administered by the technical ability of their musicians SOS finally conforms an album that remains good in its very own terrain. Not overly complicated or utterly evolutionary the work must be judged for the entertainment division; in there it preserves its own quality.