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SSS - "Problems to the Answer" (CD)

SSS - "Problems to the Answer" CD cover image

"Problems to the Answer" track listing:

1. The Kill Floor
2. Out the Loop
3. Birdshit
4. Laughing Leads to Crying
5. White Bread
6. Eat Me, Drink Me? Burn Me
7. Foreign Body Plot
8. Roar
9. Sick Pleasures
10. Direct Action
11. What Would Cards Do
12. Man against Man
13. Tales out of School
14. Rats Nest
15. Cathode Control
16. Painting by Numbers
17. Quick Fix
18. Future Primitive
19. Trapped inside Two States of Mind
20. Politics of Convenience
21. Here Comes the Neighborhood
22. Deep Sleep
23. Speed Freaks
24. Dismantle the Dream
25. Strangenotes

Reviewed by on August 6, 2011

"...songs such as the sixteen-second 'Birdshit' and the six-second 'Direct Action' offer a barrage of drum rolls and tongue-twisting lyrics that will fire up the listener, but after a while, it becomes difficult to latch onto any of the songs."

SSS didn’t take their name from a stuttering Nazi or a Red Skull-like super Nazi. Their name has nothing to do with Nazis. SSS is an abbreviation for Short Sharp Shock. “Problems to the Answer” definitely lives up to the “short” in their name. This third full-length from the UK crossover act consists of twenty-five tracks, averaging about a minute and a half per track.

Penning short songs with rapid vocal rhythms is one of the tenants of the thrash/hardcore punk hybrid known as crossover. S.O.D. wrote four-second songs, but often the briefness of these tracks added to the humor they were trying to convey. Possibly, SSS is trying their hand with humor on some of these short tracks. If they are trying to be funny, they’re doing it in an awfully subtle way.

Sure, songs such as the sixteen-second “Birdshit” and the six-second “Direct Action” offer a barrage of drum rolls and tongue-twisting lyrics that will fire up the listener, but after a while, it becomes difficult to latch onto any of the songs. Thankfully, there are a few tracks where the band slows down, drops anchor, and allows the weight of the groove to take effect.

“Man Against Man” features two minutes of mid-paced, NYHC riffing. With his tough, Lou Koller from Sick of it All-type voice, Foxy excels during the slower, hardcore segments. Also, these moments highlight the thrashier side of the group. “Tales out of School” displays an early '80s speed metal riff. “Speed Freak” offers enough time to enjoy the track and fully lives up to its name. Two of the longest tracks, “Future Primitive” and “Strangenotes,” are instrumentals. The latter track offers “strange” variety, utilizing fist-pumping riffs, piano, jazzy bass notes and noisy percussion. You might say it’s SSS’ version of Metallica's “Orion.”

“Problems to the Answer” may prove a hard listen from beginning to end, due to its tracks being on the lean side. Those who prefer to tread circles in their bedrooms, swinging their elbows haphazardly to an entire D.R.I. album will fully embrace “Problems to the Answer.” If you’re like me and find your attention drifting after a few songs, then focusing on a few tracks will result in a better listening experience. Those who like their crossover weighing more on the thrash side should check out the band’s debut, self-titled recording.

Highs: The album is an explosion of energy and should incite much rowdiness in the live setting.

Lows: The songs lack hooks.

Bottom line: Not a crossover classic, but fans of this genre should give it a try.

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)