400 Blows Sickness and Health

400 Blows Sickness and Health
Known for their ferocious sound and stage presence, L.A trio 400 Blows are back from a six-year hiatus with Sickness and Health, an 11-track album with the capacity to blow your mind 400 times. Formed in 1997, the group incorporate elements of hardcore punk and metal to create a pummelling sound with a minimalist style featuring guitar, drums and vocals. To substitute for the lack of bass is their signature, cyclical drum and guitar riffing with a guitar/backbeat fills. Aside from leather-gloved vocalist Skot Alexander, the band are back with a new line-up, members stemming from Big Business, Crom (guitarist Scott Martin), and Circle Jerks (drummer Kevin Fitzgerald), all influences heard here. Vocalist Alexander's raspy shouts are in the foreground, where in past work (i.e., debut album 3.19.98), his low mutterings were muddled beneath blasting percussion and reverb. Sickness and Health is strong lyrically; Alexander's flurry of rhyming lyrics are a focus in several songs and carry them forward with a vengeance. His proclamations that, "This is the End!" in first track "Stop the End" having a bone-chilling effect. Sickness and Health is a poignant, solidly structured album from start to finish that comes close to capturing the intensity of the notoriously vicious 400 Blows live shows. (Org)