Destruction By Definition

The Suicide Machines

Hollywood Records, 1996

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


While I was in college, my musical palette expanded beyond any previous capacity. I started getting into hardcore punk and was digging into everything I could find. I was familiar with Suicide Machines but hadn’t listened to them – that is, until one of my best friends, Josh Mickley, burned me a couple of CDs, including this one, their debut. Listening to it the next day, I was blown away by how great a punk record it was.

Kicking things off with the one-two punch of “New Girl” and “S.O.S,” the band proved they were onto something that was just loud and heavy as shit. “New Girl” is the type of song that pop-punk bands could play live and it would still sound amazing. “S.O.S.” is a punk battle cry and really shows off the band’s versatility. In fact, the whole album does, from the blistering punk of “Our Time” to the upbeat ska of “Hey!,” the band proved they were capable of tackling almost anything.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

At less than two minutes long, the single “No Face” became the band’s calling card. It was a modest success but in the years since, it has become one of the best loved punk tracks of the late ‘90s. The rhythm section of drummer Derek Grant (now of Alkaline Trio) and bassist Royce Nunley are just on fire on this track and throughout the whole damn record. The two of them could not be matched and became one of the fiercest rhythm sections of the ‘90s punk revival.

Listen to the ferocity of “The Real You” and the shameless plug of “Vans Song,” one of the band’s best songs; I dare you not to sing along. The last song, “So Long,” contains a ferocious rip through the Minor Threat classic “I Don’t Want To Hear It,” another sign the band weren’t afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves.

Despite a couple of lineup changes, the band continued recording and touring until 2007. Frontman Jason Navarro now leads Break Anchor and Hellmouth, two bands with a distinctive Suicide Machines sound. Critics have talked about Green Day and The Offspring as the revival of punk rock. But The Offspring quickly turned into some pop band with shitty songs while Green Day became one of the biggest bands in the world. The Suicide Machines, however, stayed true to their roots and became one of the most notable and extreme punk bands of the era.

Rating: A

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