As one of the longest standing bands still proudly waving the flag of New York Hardcore, Sick Of It All have made their mark as one of the cornerstones of NYHC, proving that heart, hard work and dedication to hardcore is about more than just the music and an image, it’s a way of life.
The four-piece will be celebrating their 20th anniversary in 2006 and coinciding with that monumental event is the release of the bands 9th full-length record (not including several EPs, singles and live recordings). The upcoming record, entitled Death To Tyrants, will be released early 2006 and shows the band is nowhere near slowing down.
“This is a landmark album for us, so it's important for it to be strong and heavy,” says drummer Armand Majidi. “Although the songs growl in a new way, they're SOIA through and through, with something to offer all our fans from every era. There's a political slant to a number of songs, because of the more desperate world view we have nowadays, but we still share personal experiences, philosophies and moods that we hope everyone can relate to.”
This socially driven attitude and message is something that’s always kept the band close with their fanbase from the very beginning. Originally formed by brothers Lou and Pete Koller in the mid-'80s, Sick Of It All set the tone of their music and ideology by offering a no-frills view of the world around them. Often revolving around politics, social injustices and life on streets in New York, the band wore their views on their sleeve and made no apologies, often times attempting to turn the tables to include thread of positivity, a hope for change and improvement.
Not long after forming, the band released their first self-titled EP on Revelation Records and began to accumulate a strong local following after playing infamous clubs like CBGBs. Their first full-length record, Blood Sweat And No Tears (Combat Records), took the band on their first national tour, after which there was no stopping them. When their second album Just Look Around was released in 1992, it was a benchmark for the band and the New York hardcore scene. The band recruited bass player Craig Ahead during this time who joined them on international tours to both Europe and Japan, while the record helped revitalized the scene and bolster NYHC pride among their contemporaries. The mid-90s saw the band go the majors as they released their breakthrough-album Scratch The Surface in 1994 on Atlantic, followed by a live album and a collection of rarities before they released their seminal record Built To Last in 1997. During this time the band continued to tour relentlessly, even hitting South and Central America.
Releasing three albums on Fat Wreck Chords, as well as a live album and a collection of rarities, the band kept spreading the hardcore reality all over the world, proving to be an institution of hardcore while different trends came and went. It’s this longevity and conviction that has kept the band’s reputation untarnished and legendary.
“We're lucky enough to have [a fanbase] that accepts us as we are, and who prefer their music gimmick-free and without all the pop culture bullshit,” Majidi says. “Our motivation is helped by the fact that in twenty years, we never rested on our laurels because of mainstream success. We're just as hungry as we've ever been and still have a lot to prove.”
Taking the challenge on to prove their sincerity, the band have crafted an album to prove the tired listeners and the naysayers dead wrong. Set to be recorded with Dean Baltulonis (Bouncing Souls, Give Up The Ghost, Most Precious Blood) at Atomic Studios this winter with mixing being handled by Tue Madsen (The Haunted, Heaven Shall Burn), Sick Of It All are firing on all cylinders. The band’s real life dogma and hunger for excellence as a hardcore band have truly been ideals that fans from all corners of the globe passionately admire and identify with. On Death To Tyrants, the band pulls no punches and shows clearly why they are the definition of “hardcore.”