Suicidal Tendencies

Freedumb

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To the very extent to which Suicidal Tendencies were once edgy, intelligent, and refreshingly original, 1999'sFreedumb is trite, repetitive, and disappointing. Seemingly all the elements that once made this Venice-based funk-thrash quartet enjoyable are gone, replaced by dated riffs and lyrics that wouldn't fit in during any time period. It's as if frontman Mike Muir doesn't know where to direct his anger anymore. And so he directs it all over the place, with varying degrees of effectiveness. There's no biting criticism of religious hypocrisy on Freedumb, nor are there any attacks on minimum-wage labor or corporate greed. What this album does have is a song called "Hippie Killer," which, in theory, could be funny, if Muir made any attempt to elucidate what makes hippies worth killing. But his criticism goes no farther than, "Hippies suck!" And then there's the title track, " "Freedumb." The concept behind this clever play on words is only explained by the repeated posture, "You want your freedumb?/We got your freedumb!/Get your freedumb/I've got your freedumb!" Lyrically, Muir's work on Freedumb is nothing short of lazy, which is highly disappointing, because when he's at his best, he's second to none. Almost every song toggles back and forth between the same two or three chords, making a three-minute song feel twice as long as it actually is. The band is obviously trying to return to the simplicity of its roots, but their earlier material had -- in addition to clever lyrics -- catchy hooks, something this album is sorely lacking. Furthermore, their earlier work, even the foul-mouthed Suicidal for Life, relied heavily on the funky bass riffs of ultra-talented Robert Trujillo. His contribution to this album seems disappointingly sparse. The final and best song, "Heaven," introduces Spanish guitars to Suicidal's repertoire. It's a nice touch, but too little, and too late, to save the rest.

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