Much like Communism, every ideal regarding the Utopian government written down on paper seems like the most perfect way of life imaginable. However after the rush of relative theory subsides and the underbelly of human nature takes over, it’s only then that the real cracks and flaws shine through once the plans have been implemented. This can be said for Brooklyn, New York posh rock quintet Suicide City. You’d think a band formed by former Biohazard guitarist Billy Graziadei and former Kittie bassist Jennifer Arroyo would be nothing short of heavy and awesome. This is not the case unfortunately and somewhere on the wings of destiny, sadly, Suicide City’s debut LP Frenzy comes up way, way short and shows quite a significant amount of cracks straight from the beginning.
Right away from the lion’s den, Suicide City kicks off their debut blunder with “First Cut”, a mishmash of electronic voices over dilapidated drum beats. Then it uses the crossfade right into the album’s first true “cut” that is “Cutter.” Suicide City likes to cut things without a doubt. Unfortunately the band falls apart really quickly. While Graziadei and guitarist AJ Marchetta’s guitarwork is decent at best, singer Karl Bernholtz works on his best Brendon Urie from Panic! At The Disco impression throughout the duration of this tune and it comes up awfully short. The band seems at times to try way too hard to take the music in a heavy handed direction with absolutely no firepower to back it up.
With a pseudo-catchy singalong of “Cut, cut, cut, cut, cut!” the band tries to capitalize on formulas far already established without much rope to hang onto. What results is a garbled mess of genres and overall confusion as to what the band wants to establish. Are they a hardcore band? Are they an emo band? There’s little distinction between the two, but the mixture hardly works. Oddly enough, the best musician in the band, drummer Danny Lamagna does a great job overall with his excellent skills as a drummer, but even he can’t save this sinking ship of what the band is somewhat trying to accomplish. To put it bluntly, his drumming sticks out way too much for this style of music.
Afterward, Frenzy follows with the abruptly switching gears moderate rocker “Sex And Dying”. While the first tune had somewhat of an upbeat attitude, this already puts the band in the hole in terms of musical direction. Right away the band’s album comes off pretty confusing and begging for a genre to attach itself to. I’m all for splicing genres, that’s by far a great thing to do. In Suicide City’s case, somewhere in all those sprawling guitar riffs and warbling vocals, they’re still trying to discover themselves.
Continuing the confusion are the throwaway tune “The Only Track Not About Sex Or Dying” and the rockabilly infused “The Best Way”. While ‘The Best Way” proves to be a pretty decent outing from the band thus far, Bernholtz’s vocals just don’t do this band justice. They kill any vibe this band is trying to achieve, and what vibe that is amidst this confusion, I’ve got no clue. Even on the next cut “Painted Horse”, Graziadei and Marchetta’s guitars sound good, but as mentioned before, Suicide City seems to never get it right. Good musical elements are wasted left and right and therefore feel very incomplete or jumbled together for sake of being jumbled.
This trend continues for pretty much the entire duration of the album, including the heavy numbers in “Chemical Fight”, “Burn”, the seemingly out of place “Spanish Fly” and the other throwaway thirty second song “She Waits In A European Nightclub”. At best it sounds to be modern day progressive rock with the Panic!-esque strings pulling the musicians together. What the final product resembles is something less expected and less thoroughly detailed; the strings sever themselves with each passing song.
Frenzy may be a nod to the band’s over-usage of musical odds and ends. Unfortunately, Suicide City seems to suffer from a severe personality crisis, not knowing which musical path to swear allegiance to. While it’s tempting to take everything on the Thanksgiving table for a great night dinner, some of the stuff you can seriously do without. Overkill is the word here, and Suicide City need some serious discovery. Perhaps there’s a sophomore album in the works…maybe so. For now, avoid this one and stick to a lean diet this holiday season, Comrades.
Suicide City – “Cutter”