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Sick Of It All, Live in London

NYHC heroes hit the fountain of youth

There’s some black magic in the air onstage at The Underworld – either that, or the four members of Sick Of It All sleep in formaldehyde, as they don’t appear to have aged a day since their inception.

They career around in the same manner as they ever have as well, and where some bands of their generation are slowing down, mellowing at this career twilight, the New York hardcore veterans are still as mindbogglingly tight and bulldozing as they were 29 years ago.

What’s also heartening is the crowd’s reaction to tracks from new album Last Act Of Defiance. The swirling, grimacing, sweaty congregation roar themselves hoarse to Road Less Travelled and Get Bronxed as much as they do for genuine classics like Injustice System and My Life from debut album Blood Sweat And No Tears.

All the elements that make SOIA so beloved are in place, so we get Pete Koller’s high-kicking and guitar-spinning Tasmanian devil impression, his brother Lou’s gravel-throated bark and between song wisecracks, the original wall of death and a staggering set list of anthems like Step Down, Call To Arms, Scratch The Surface and Us Vs. Them.

Sick Of It All make Slayer look inconsistent and make Hatebreed sound like Blink 182. They’re the best true hardcore band of all time, rightly regarded as legends and, amazingly, show no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.