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Life On the Ropes

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Album Review

Even after more than 15 years, Sick of It All's Life on the Ropes finds the band as heavy, fast, and fun as ever while still allowing plenty of room for some thoughtful lyrics. Throughout the entire length of the album, the band keeps switching back and forth between circle-pit anthems and singalong youth crew tunes. Thus, the band sounds like a good cross of old- and new-school hardcore mixed with good old punk rock. Street-tough vocals from Lou Koller spout out lyrics that seem to be predominately about philosophy and self-reflection, which may seem out of place among much of the hardcore scene, but Sick of It All makes it work and in an intelligent, respectable manner. Sixteen songs seems the perfect length, as the tunes are all pretty quick-paced and upbeat, and thus the album seems over before you know it. In the end, if nothing else, Sick of It All show that age and experience can help make a better hardcore album. Life on the Ropes is a fine album for both first-time listeners and fans alike.


Formed: 1986 in New York, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Formed by brothers Lou and Pete Koller in the mid-'80s, Sick of It All became a seminal band in the New York City hardcore scene. While remaining true to their roots and without compromising their style, Sick of It All progressed from an indie band with a strong live following to a major-label act touring with the likes of Helmet and Rancid. Sick of It All remained a vital influence on the hardcore scene. They released Built to Last in early 1997 to critical acclaim and an expanding audience. The...
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Life On the Ropes, Sick of It All
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