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Suicidal Tendencies - "No Mercy Fool!/The Suicidal Family" (CD)

Suicidal Tendencies - "No Mercy Fool!/The Suicidal Family" CD cover image

"No Mercy Fool!/The Suicidal Family" track listing:

1. Suicidal Maniac (3:10)
2. Possessed to Skate (3:28)
3. The Prisoner (3:10)
4. I Feel Your Pain...And I Survive (3:42)
5. Join the S.T. Army (4:23)
6. No Name, No Words (2:34)
7. Born to Be Cyco (2:24)
8. Come Alive (3:43)
9. Something Inside Me (2:59)
10. No Mercy Fool! (3:28)
11. We're F'n Evil (3:37)
12. Crazy But Proud (3:14)
13. I'm Your Nightmare (3:20)
14. Widespread Bloodshed...Love Runs Red (4:34)

Reviewed by on October 18, 2010

"A meaty production and reworking of a few tracks makes these classics sharper, though the lack of new material and an obnoxious bass volume level hurt the album’s lasting value."

It’s been over ten years since Suicidal Tendencies released a full album of new material, but the band has been keeping fans satisfied the past few years with the release of various splits and a live DVD. “No Mercy Fool!/The Suicidal Family” is another compilation, this time of re-recorded tracks from seminal albums “Join The Army” and “Widespread Bloodshed...Love Runs Red,” the latter from the Mike Muir/Mike Clark side-project, No Mercy. A meaty production and reworking of a few tracks makes these classics sharper, though the lack of new material and an obnoxious bass volume level hurt the album’s lasting value.

The first half contains all the “Join The Army” tunes. The band picked the right ones to cover, keeping in spirit with the crossover thrash sound of the originals. While Muir is the only founding member left, the rest of the band fits right in. Dean Pleasants mimics Rocky George’s killer leads, adding his own touch to avoid a direct carbon copy. “Possessed To Skate” and “Join The ST Army” have extended sections where the rhythm section gets the spotlight. Bassist Steve Brunner is a talented musician, but the bass is way too loud in the mix. The plucking and funky leads on these two tracks overshadow the rest of the instruments. It’s odd because on the rest of the album, the bass isn’t nearly as booming. Chalk it up to a weird production quirk.

“Come Alive” is one of the best tracks the band has written since the early 90’s and the first fresh-sounding thing on here. It’s fast and chock full of attitude, solos flying from every angle and tasty riffage marking a renewed spirit from the quintet. The following tracks, “Something Inside Me” and “No Mercy Fool!,” also raise the anticipation for new material. While these songs have been around in some form since 2008, it is the only recent material to be found on “No Mercy Fool!/The Suicidal Family.”

The rest of the album is a treat for long-time fans, containing covers of tracks from No Mercy’s “Widespread Bloodshed...Love Runs Red.” The LP is the only one from the Mike Clark-led project and it is as hard to find as the first four Pantera albums. The tracks are well done and the band seems to be having a good time sharing hard-to-find songs with the rest of the world. No Mercy was proficient in speed metal, much different than what Suicidal Tendencies is all about. This makes for a bit of disconnect between the “Widespread Bloodshed” songs and the rest of the album, though it is nice to see the band playing more than just funky crossover thrash.

The commonality between this album and Anthrax’s “The Greater Of Two Evils” is a lot closer than many may think. Both records took older songs and gave them a modern touch, but in the end, it really wasn’t needed as the original versions were already strong on their own merit. It’s nice to see Suicidal Tendencies revert back to their old days and give new fans an opportunity to hear what the early days sounded like. Still, there is a sense that this compilation is treading water at this point for the band. “Come Alive” and “No Mercy Fool!” prove that there is a lot of life left in the Suicidal army. It’s about time they brought something new to the table and leave the past behind, where it belongs.

Highs: "Come Alive" and "No Mercy Fool!" are great examples of the creative juice still flowing; the band does a good job covering classics; nice to hear No Mercy tunes redone so well.

Lows: No new material, loud bass, only for the die-hards.

Bottom line: Only for the die-hards, "No Mercy Fool!/The Suicidal Family" is a decent compilation that provide fans a little relief in the anticipation for a new album.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)