Short Sharp Shock

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Crossover, as a genre, has been so removed from the public conscience since its salad days in the mid-'80s that very few modern bands are able to dip into its aesthetic without sounding like a mere nostalgia act. Liverpool, England's SSS are one such band. Short Sharp Shock, as they are known to their friends, make no apologies about their fixation on all things '80s crossover, but their eponymous debut still succeeds in bringing a contemporary freshness to the style without breaking out of character. And so, mosh-ready anthems like "Warhorse," "Damaged Goods," and "Last Man Standing" (to cite but a few) feature all of the core genre requirements you'd expect (punk's sonic straightforwardness and blunt honesty; metal's instrumental prowess and crushing aggression; hardcore's blunt-force velocity, bass runs, and unquenchable outrage), while managing not to clone formative touchstones like D.R.I., Agnostic Front, and Suicidal Tendencies. By the time they finally step outside these friendly confines with the lengthy bonus track, "Black Night White Light" (containing a nice bass guitar tribute to Metallica's late, great Cliff Burton), SSS have welcomed the listener into such an authentic '80s time warp that they may not want to come back to the future. But, hey -- they don't really have to, since crossover is now alive and well in the 2000s thanks to Short Sharp Shock.

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