Hailing from Kassel in central Germany, punk act SUCK gained a reputation as a stellar live attraction when supporting Amyl and The Sniffers on tour in that country immediately prior to the pandemic. Having released an EP entitled ‘Frog’ before that set of dates, they are now finally ready to unleash their debut album, ‘Ribbit’.
The record opens with ‘Rip It’, which sports a drum intro that sounds like it’s about to kick your front door in, followed by an explosion of aggressive, circular saw guitar, bass growl and a snarling vocal that doesn’t let up for the next half an hour. Pitched somewhere between Black Sabbath and 70s punk, the live sound that many have fallen in love with at SUCK concerts has undoubtedly been well captured here.
The first single issued from ‘Ribbit’ was ‘Gravedigger’ (VIDEO), which illustrated the fact that the group have evolved from similarly heavy tracks on their earlier EP, with the wildly sawing, bone-dry produced guitar at the beginning making it clear that SUCK haven’t merely gone down the classic punk route, but also have a feel for the aggression and dark energy of various metal styles.
Other examples of this include ‘Rat King’, which sounds like a diabolic homage and unfolds a dynamic that goes far beyond the simple ‘three-chords-good’ ethic, plus brand new single ‘Lucifer’, in which Isabell and Patrick sing/shout in unison (not for the only time on ‘Ribbit’). “Metallica and Sabbath are the intersection that we all agree on,” states Jakob, “while the latter have influenced my guitar style. Even though the songs are more punk than metal, that’s where they come from.” Bassist Nils adds that “I grew up with 90s and noughties punk like Bad Religion and NOFX. Metal then came into my life more out of necessity: there was no punk band in my area that I could join, so I played in a death metal band. I always thought Metallica was crap – but more for human reasons!”
As evidenced by their name, music, vocals and song titles like ‘Roadkill’ and ‘Copkiller’, SUCK emanate a certain level of aggressivity, albeit while wearing a smile on their faces. ‘Copkiller’, according to Patrick, is ‘politically meant’ and has arisen from the “natural skepticism towards the power of the state, which probably every punk has”, reinforced by blatant images of police violence seen over many years. Isabell says that SUCK lyrics are “neither banal nor mega deep,” which sounds a little too modest, given that ‘Rat King’ (as just one example) has a certain demonic power that comes in part from its words. ‘Decadent Life’ is also very successful, precisely because it relies on simple, powerful announcements. “I just wanna lose my shit tonight!” sings Isabell in the chorus; quite honestly, isn’t that exactly what we’ve all missed in recent years?
1 Rip It
3 Mama’s Got A Backpatch
4 Decadent Life
6 Gimme Your Number
7 Rat King
11 Gloom Terror
(La Pochette Surprise/Membran)