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War Profiteering Is Killing Us All

The Suicide Machines

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Album Review

If the Suicide Machines were reinvigorated on their Side One Dummy debut, Match and Some Gasoline, then they're reborn with 2005's War Profiteering Is Killing Us All. Pulling as few punches as its title (i.e., none), the album is a vicious and ambitious statement of punk rock fury punctuated with the ska and hardcore listeners know from the Detroit vets. Now, ska was unquestionably played out there for a while, particularly in the wake of third wave when groups thought they could combine upbeats with anything at all. But the Suicide Machines do it right on War Profiteering. They focus on being an ace punk rock band first, so tracks like "Red Flag" and "Ghost on Sunset Strip" absolutely rip. And in the latter's third verse when there's a little dub echo? It's not forced, or at the advice of a producer. Elsewhere, the swaggering, Rancid-ish "Junk" calls out a junkie with force — "You gotta do this on your own/There won't be an intervention/You gotta make up your mind" — and "Capsule" rolls raucously from hardcore, to ragged ska rhythm, to screaming death metal in under two minutes. It's like the Machines had so many ideas on War Profiteering, so many ways to bring the album to life, that they just jammed them all in. That could've made for a cluttered mess. Instead, there's only one song over three minutes, and the album grabs hold musically and lyrically with a bear-claw grip. They're after the usual enemies — its artwork depicts the American flag as a bar code, the silhouette of a businessman striding smugly, and a stylized elephant surrounded by bullets, bombers, and cash. But on "17% 18-25" the Suicide Machines scold kids who got riled up during the 2004 elections, only to forget the most important part (the title refers to the voting percentage by age), and they even accuse themselves of griping too much on the energetic ska number "Hands Tied." War Profiteering Is Killing Us All never fears making a statement. But it's a tenacious, tightly melodic punk rock record first, and it integrates the Suicide Machines' ska, hardcore, and lyrical rants seamlessly. They're veterans, reborn and loud.


Formed: March, 1991 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Although many mistake alterna-ska punkers the Suicide Machines as being from California, where most of the genre's bands come from, they're in fact Detroit natives. Starting off in the early '90s, the quartet was founded by Jason Navarro (vocals) and Dan Lukacinsky (guitar/vocals), who saw some members come and go before recording their first demo in 1993 with Derek Grant on drums and Jason Brake on bass. The Suicide Machines did their first national dates the following year and by late 1994 Royce...
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War Profiteering Is Killing Us All, The Suicide Machines
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