Written by: The Administrator
After receiving official word that my current sequestered life shall extend, at the very least, for another seven months, I decided that it would be worthwhile to rearrange my living space/prison here at the Sleeping Village. Y'know, alter the stuffy environment as much as humanly possible, given a marked inability to go outside.
As such, much furniture hath been moved here within the past few days, and, given a need for a high-octane kick in the ass, the highest quality furniture moving music was required. Crossover thrash was the only thing capable of injecting a little oomph into my disturbingly quarantine-atrophied biceps, and so the debut from Warsaw's Sanity Control--veritable paragons of the modern crossover aesthetic--was spun a disturbing number of times. And here I sit, icing, in hopes that War On Life (or the furniture) didn't push my haggard body beyond the brink. But enough talk. Let's get into it, shall we?
As I wrote back in the primordial days of this site in regards to their 2-track demo, "Sanity Control's formula isn't new or novel, but yet this is crossover at its most effective, seamlessly integrating the highlights of both respective genres." That, of course, remains true in the context of their first full-length effort. As the most blatant aspects of punk and thrash are on prominent display, there is little subtlety or nuance to be found across the short breadth of War On Life. Frankly, I don't think any self-respecting thrasher would want it any other way.
Blistering riffage is a constant, switching frequently and without so much as a moment's notice. The individual songs are constructed in such a fashion that a 5-second riff could be lifted from here or there and dropped into an entirely separate track without consequence--such is the aggressive fluidity of guitar-centric thrash. The forward momentum is a constant, as is a deliciously punky sneer in both the vocal tone and the tempo. Given the formula, repetition and lack of distinction is an inevitability, and while that is certainly a critique I would level at any other genre, crossover lives and dies by it's energy, not by its ability to present a fresh-faced take. There's not much invention to be had, and so we must grade by a rubric befitting the topic at hand. War On Life is fierce, and mean, and carries itself with a distinctly hardcore attitude. From the logo to the instrumentation to the barking vocal delivery, Sanity Control's gestalt is a predictably bullet-belt'd affair.
That said, there are several tracks that stand out by benefit of their slightly more unique approach. "Enough," for example, blends a simple thrash riff with some excellent percussive accentuation. An equally simple chorus--easily chantable, as all god-tier punk refrains are--seals this track in my mind long after the record has come to an end. "Paying Is Believing," on the other hand, is an absolute barn-burner, featuring runaway train axemanship and a vicious refrain. Both the former and latter are easy highlight tracks--ones that would most certainly cause me to explore Sanity Control's catalog if I encountered them, say, on an old-school compilation mixtape. A notable difference is the production quality, which succeeds well at striking a delicate balance between the raw grime of yore and a certain modern crispness and professionalism.
And there we have it. If you're looking for an album with a narrative or a sense of epic cohesion, this sure as hell ain't it. However, if you're in the mood for some pedal-to-the-medal crossover without a artsy-fartsy need to flaunt convention and exceptions, Sanity Control have ye suitably covered.
Sanity Control - War On Life was released Aug. 7th, 2020 from Seeing Red Records (N.America) and Selfmadegod (Europe)
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!