The Suicide Machines formed in 1991 during grunge’s flannel/heroin peak, and just five years later released their debut album, “Destruction by Definition” for Hollywood Records and said LP is, without hyperbole, one of the top ten ska-punk records of all time… The numbers don’t lie, but you sure do! If that’s too much for you to read, you truly need to face your values head on both inside AND outside, and check your insecurities at the door. So long!
7. Self-Titled (2000)
Self-titled albums are usually either a band’s debut LP, or a back to basics effort years and/or albums later. This one is neither, which makes it quite tough to talk about, especially after the band’s almost perfect breakout first ska-punk LP, and their dark follow-up sophomore hardcore album. This one may have been held in higher regard if it was the band’s first album, but it sadly sounds like a cash grab, which we know is the goal of a major label release, but we’re still mad salty and sour here. Still, we find it extremely hilarious that Disney’s Hollywood Records thought that a band called The Suicide Machines would break into the mainstream like Belle and the Beast, and even more so with this album. In closing, while the first two tracks on this record have stood the test of time, the others sadly haven’t.
Play it again: Tracks 1-2
Skip it: Take your pick from the rest
6. Revolution Spring (2020)
No one, not even Julius Caesar or Harry Potter, was expecting a new The Suicide Machines LP in the 2010s, let alone in the 2020s FIFTEEN years after their truly great album predecessor “War Profiteering Is Killing Us All,” but Jason Navarro and company love to keep ya guessing, and delivered this decade one of the better ska-punk intentionally-or-unintentionally throwback records. The band’s seventh album “Revolution Spring” came out via Fat Wreck Chords six days into Spring 2020, and just days after the Covid lockdowns started, which was a freaking romp of an empty time. Still, despite you thinking that we are eternal contrarians, we really don’t think that cold, cold, cold Detroit is the new hot, hot, hot Miami, even though it may resemble the Whole Foods known as Williamsburg with far more crime right now.
Play it again: “Awkward Always”
Skip it: “Empty Time”
5. Steal This Record (2001)
We’ll get to their most underrated LP later, but “Steal This Record,” the band’s fourth album and last major label release, is certainly The Suicide Machines’ second most underappreciated effort in their seven-album catalog. Funnily, they pulled a Chumbawamba by telling/advising/notifying/commanding people to steal an actual record, which is technically criminal behavior sans honor, that likely cost Hollywood Records six figures to make, which should also be illegal. Stand up if you agree, and provide a killing blow if you don’t. We’re unsure as to what caused the frenetic direction of this full-length, but it definitely sounds angry front to back, and most certainly more so than the band’s third and self-titled studio album. The record also came out fourteen days after the awful 9/11 tragedy, and said disaster put a pin in the band’s first single “The Killing Blow” before it even had a chance.
Play it again: Duran Duran’s “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”
Skip it: “All The Way”
4. A Match & Some Gasoline (2003)
The fifth LP from The Suicide Machines and their first of two non-major label releases to be released on SideOneDummy Records, former home of the now disgraced Anti-Flag, likeminded Big D and the Kids Table, the impossible to describe Gogol Bordello, and Dio. For many hardcore fans of TSM, this record served as a glorious return to form after its elimination on album #3. The Suicide Machines’ highlight track from this album, which has a surprisingly high number of public streams, “High Anxiety,” is a killer ska-punk anthem, and was even featured on the soundtrack to “Tony Hawk’s Underground 2”… Do you even skate, bro? A cool point to mention is that “A Match and Some Gasoline” is the first of two TSM LPs to be recorded in The Blasting Room by Descendents’ Bill Stevenson, and The Virginia Sisters’/Blood Brothers’ Jason Livermore.
Play it again: “High Anxiety”
Skip it: “Split The Time”
3. War Profiteering Is Killing Us All (2005)
The band’s sixth/last LP for quite some time known as “War Profiteering Is Killing Us All” is the band’s best record from this century and serves as a similar sequel to 2003, like 1998 was to 1996’s for the band in genre form, songwriting prowess, and a tasty, tasty, tasty rectangular pan pizza with a crisp crust, but not a crust punk, hosers. Overall, it is a critique of the bottomed-out George Walker Bush, the meh sequel to George Herbert Walker Bush’s administration, which was very common in the punk rock world between 2000-2008, but The Suicide Machines executed its bitter sentiment better than most. Also, the tune “I Went On Tour for Ten Years And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt” is not only rad/long/fun/vibey AF, but it is one of the better song titles from a band in the Warped Tour scene.
Play it again: The title track, “War Profiteering Is Killing Us All”
Skip it: “Hands Tied”
2. Battle Hymns (1998)
The Suicide Machines’ sophomore LP “Battle Hymns” is BY FAR their most underrated in their vast catalog, and we would’ve love loved/hate hated to see what the goons on Twitter would’ve said about this one if it was around in the late-’90s, but happily, Elon Musk was doing way cooler things then than his troll high society billionaire shizz now. Please speak no evil about this record, as we can’t take that kind of rejection from you all; sympathy for the devil. As objective/subjective masters of our craft, we theorize that the unjustified hate for this record is because it was such a departure, and even Hollywood Records agreed, despite the fact that they are the premier hardcore punk label in all of, err, Hollywood. Like album #4, the bad babies in The Suicide Machines encouraged theft for this one, which is step one for cockblocking your work.
Play it again: “Someone”
Skip it: “Independence Parade”
1. Destruction By Definition (1996)
Like its three mega conglomerate label sequels, The Suicide Machines’ debut and groundbreaking LP “Destruction By Definition” was produced by their A&R label dude, and revered songwriter Julian Raymond, who also worked with Fastball, Cheap Trick, Mutemath, and Robert Johnson. Mr. Raymond killed it here, and the proof is in the pudding regarding track four, “No Face,” which received radio and MTV play for a lil bit, and in the band’s best song “Break The Glass,” which was on the soundtrack to the Oscar-winning “An American Werewolf in Ann Arbor.” A badass opinion is that the band’s bonus track “I Don’t Wanna Hear It” is a solid ska-punk rendition of your straight edge second cousin’s favorite song. S.O.S.: In closing, B-Rabbit opened for The Suicide Machines at the world-famous St. Andrews Hall in 1996, got booed off the stage, and wept.
Play it again: “Break The Glass”
Skip it: “Vans Song” because of the “club f%g” reference; sorry to be that outlet but we need to face values
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