Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Posted by xCHIPxSEM | File under : , , ,
(Live photo by Zeninho)

While we here at Stuck In The Past enjoy our fair share of chugga chugga vegan metal hardcore, you might find it interesting to know that my (Chip) all-time favorite hardcore record sounds nothing like any of the regular stuff we post. For me, there is no hardcore record as angry and real as Sick Of It All's "Just Look Around". Being that the band just celebrated their 25th anniversary, I felt it fitting to take a look back at what I consider the finest hardcore record ever written.
This is the last record the band released with original bass player Richie Cipriano and the second of two records released by Relativity Records. At the time, the band had already been around about 6 years, gone through a major line up shift (Richie and Arman left and were replaced by Eddie and E.K. only to come back before the recording of this) and the cry of "sell out" began to seep in when they signed to Relativity. I feel like the band used this to fuel the anger in the music and the lyrics for this record. The record starts off with "We Want The Truth" which took off right out of the gate. The band didn't start off with some stomp type intro, just straight forward fast hardcore, set to grab you by the balls and say "hey we're still here and we're pissed off". I remember reading somewhere (possibly in Hardware zine) that Pete and Lou felt like they couldn't write when Eddie and E.K. were in the band. If that's the case, bringing Richie and Arman back into the band made a world of difference because they took one of the only songs that Eddie and E.K. recorded on (We Stand Alone) and made it even better. Now, I gotta say that "We Stand Alone" is my favorite hardcore song EVER. The original is a banger but the re-recorded version added a breakdown and sing-a-long to the end. I remember reading the lyrics for the first time and just felt how angry they seemed at their friends turning their backs on them and how they didn't care ("First you said we hated to much now you say we just can't hate enough, now you're screaming that we've changed we've grown up but our beliefs are still the same, it's still an outlet for anger and strife but one more thing, it's also our life"). Words like these really stuck with me and made me re-evaluate how I viewed bands who were gaining popularity. They also re-recorded "What's Goin On" from the We Stand Alone EP. Lyrical content dealt with government cover ups (We Want The Truth), the constant day to day grind of working a 9 to 5 job (Locomotive), the AIDS epidemic (Indust.) and the brushing off of being called "sell outs" (We Stand Alone). The band also chose to tackle love with the song "The Shield" (at least that's what I interpreted it as) stating "lowered my shield, now i'm not protected I never used to let it down". This was something different from your average NYHC band, Sick Of It All were setting themselves apart. The band also went a different route by collaborating with hip-hop group House Of Pain for a remix of the title track, a track that wouldn't see the light of day until it was released on "Outtakes For The Outcast".
I could really sit here and go on forever about the greatness of this record but it really feels like the outcast in their catalog. The band really plays very little from the record live anymore it seems except on special occasions so when the band does play a song live (other than the title track), I consider it a privilege. The record is still available and could really go for a remaster to bring it back to its glory. Also, as a companion to this record, check out "Live In A World Full Of Hate", a live record released by Lost & Found Records in 1993. Craig had already joined the band but they bust through just about every song they had at the time including Minor Threat's "Betray". Though I wasn't a part of the hardcore scene when this record came out in 1992, I still look upon this record as the turning point for me, leading me to something bigger and better.


lynn said...

such a good record!

J.AoW said...

They played a couple of songs from that record for their anniversary show in New York City.
I believe I heard for the first time "We stand alone" live at that very show, despite seeing them since the mid 90's.

Awesome record. Awesome band.


just saw them a week ago in leipzig, germany on their 25th anniversary tour. before that I saw them in the early 90s and I have to admit that they are still an awesome live band (despite the massive amount of idiots in the crowd). good record. good blog entry.

xgivanx said...

man I love this album. I was just making a playlist of my favorite albums and this one was right in there. I saw them open for biohazard back when the album came out and was floored by how crazy it was. While it's not my favorite hardcore album it certainly is one of my favorites. This was their peak.

sajid said...

I was pretty late to the game with this band and obviously 25 yrs is a lot of back catalog to catch up on! I've been trying to sit down with each album individually and this happens to be the one I've been listening to a lot lately. Great record and great post!

Anonymous said...

Kudos on another excellent post, Chip.