Social Distortion finally achieves the perfect balance between their two major influences, the country anguish of Johnny Cash and the furious punk rock sound of early Clash, on their 1992 album Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell, making it the band's finest hour. The band tears through a fair share of rollicking, straight-ahead hard rock with songs like "Cold Feelings" and "When She Begins," but they also show a reflective, heartfelt, country-inspired side with songs like "This Time Darlin'" and the hard rock tribute to "Folsom Prison Blues," the cold blooded, murderous tale "99 to Life." At times the band slows down the pace a bit more than on earlier albums, but the band hasn't lost any of the edge or attitude they had as the brash young punks who recorded Mommy's Little Monster. Social Distortion classics "Bad Luck" and "Born to Lose" find a more mature Mike Ness still continuing to play the familiar role of the steadfast underdog with better results than in previous efforts. This album had all the earmarks of a major commercial success with some radio friendly tunes and strong production, but it never found the large audience Epic records expected. Regardless of the sales totals, Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell finds Orange County's most enduring punk band, Social Distortion, at their creative peak, and this album is the crown jewel of their entire catalog.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Paul Tinelli