Quality, and plenty of it, is definitely a good basis for value for money and this is exactly what Liverpool’s SSS have delivered with their third album “Problems To The Answer”; every corner and space within it is jammed tight with 25 punk/metal/thrash crossover slices of hard and attitude snarling sounds. The album finds SSS (Short Sharp Shock) from the opening note going full tilt into their sense stripping meld of thrash chords, metal riffs and predominantly punk everything else. Together it creates an aggressive intensity that gives no mercy but also makes it very easy to listen to.
With so many tracks, as can be expected, some songs rise above others but there is a satisfying and maybe surprising consistency from the opener ‘The Kill Floor’ right through to the experimental verging on the playfully indulgent/experimental closer ‘Strangenotes’. One of the impressive things is that no track resorts to obvious gimmicky hooks or riffs, that so many punk flavoured bands do now. Whether it is the 5 second slap of ‘Direct Action’ through tracks of variable lengths up to 2 minutes the band skilfully produce effective and devastating but appealing genuine punk sounds.
The moments that stand out from an album that in its entirety is a highlight, include ‘Laughing Leads To Crying’ with a slight Dead Kennedys touch in places, the Discharge flavoured ‘Eat Me Drink Me Burn Me‘, and ‘Rats Nest‘, which simply chugs away like a runaway train with two fingers in the air. Throw in the punk thrash power of ‘Foreign Body Plot‘ and the addictive and riff flowing surge of instrumental ‘Future Primitive’ and already you have a package that more than satisfies.
The quartet simply are at their best on ‘Problems To The Answer’, the drumming of Dave Ferguson, mercilessly explosive, the bass lines and riffs of bassist Mark Magill, throbbing with contempt, whilst Pete Broom delivers guitar sounds that cross any area of metal and noise you can think of, employing them into a punk attack that is devastating. The harsh and venom dripping vocals of Foxy finish off each track perfectly, his style recalling the days of old school punks UK Subs, Angelic Upstarts, and Crass, as much as the likes of Biohazard and Discharge from more recent years.
There is also a guest appearance on the release, on the three tracks of ‘The Kill Floor‘, ‘Here Comes The Neighbourhood’, and ‘Roar’, from Barney Greenway (Napalm Death). “Barney was on a shortlist of one — it was him or no one. Knew he’d be into the direction of our latest musical outing and the stance the songs take were right up his street. Some serious barking was required and his dulcet tones didn’t disappoint.” commented Foxy on the experience.
“Problems to the Answer” does not open up any new avenues with its music but it has more going on inside than most punk releases will this year, and produced with more hand on the balls attitude and sheer gut poking power than will see the light of day elsewhere in the months ahead. With flavours of bands like Municipal Waste, Total Fucking Destruction and Suicidal Tendencies added to those already mentioned it is clear where SSS are coming from and going but they fuse it all into a dirty big punk brawl of their own.