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.