Alterna-ska seemed to be the craze among rock fans circa 1996, and the Detroit band the Suicide Machines is one of the best the genre has to offer. On their second release for Hollywood, Battle Hymns, the band continues to slink through ska and slam the listener with full-throttle punk. Although the album contains a total of 22 selections, it only lasts for a duration of barely over 30 minutes (the shortest song being the four-second "Punck," and while the two minutes and 19 seconds of "Give" last the longest). But the shorter songs are often just as good -- "Hating Hate," "Face Another Day," "Confused," "Empty Room," "Step One," and countless others will easily do the trick. Singer Jason Navarro sounds similar to Rancid's Tim Armstrong at times, but it's not a ripoff, it's due to both being able to perfect their "vocals with attitude" approach just right. This is the kind of music that is best experienced live in a sweaty punk club, with slam dancers and crowd surfers flailing along, but Battle Hymns definitely does have its moments.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Prato