SICK OF IT ALL: Wake the Sleeping Dragon!: CD/LP

I haven’t listened to Sick Of It All (SOIA) in close to twenty years. I know they’ve paid their dues through and through, so major props to them. But I can’t say how they’ve improved or how they’re different. Instead, I come to them as a total outsider with only other acts to compare them to. When I listened to them I was reminded of another band from back in the ’90s: Southern California hardcore band Strife. A lot of this reminder is from SOIA’s vocalist, Lou Koller. His voice reminds me of Rick Rodney’s. Strife had more of a metal tinge to them while SOIA keeps a punk beat to their songs. But both have a lot of gang vocals and can speed ahead with a furious galloping tempo. I’m also reminded of another 1990s hardcore band, Stretch Arm Strong: fast tempo, gang vocals, and some catchy singalongs. I went back and listened to some old SOIA and it seems they’ve been pretty consistent over the years, so if you’ve liked them in the past or dug ’90s sing-along hardcore, then here you go. –Kurt Morris (Fat)