Sound — 8
This is typical Subhumans. An angry, crunchy guitar tone runs riot on this album which manages to fill in all the gaps, making dramatic transitions from the lead playing to rhythm. This Year's War is of course a song that was released on the Live In a Dive album, so it makes for a familiar beginning; this ensures that the album gets off on the right foot. Particularly intriguing is the feedback that kicks off Supermarket Forces, powerful song that deserves the accolades for its invigorating guitar riffs and rhythms. For those of us who enjoy Citizen Fish just as much as we enjoy The Subhumans, Too Fat Too Thin is the perfect answer, (even though it featured on a compilation a while back) beginning with a flurry of barre chords, before a halving of the tempo sees some reggae styled chordal arrangements. This lesser known ska sound encompasses the diversity of the Subhumans' sound, particularly emphasising the integral role of the bass guitar to the Subhumans' aggressive sound. What marks the Subhumans as one of the finest rock bands today is that they alone make the smooth, yet violent transition from relaxed, passive pace to all out ferocity and fervour in every one of the songs on Internal Riot. All in all, this is a notable return for Trotsky, Dick and Bruce, who manage to maintain the Subhumans sound without making it redundant.
Lyrics — 8
Some could accuse Dick Lucas of playing it safe by singing about so-called 'safe' topics such as terrorism, anorexia and war. However, the conviction with which he delivers his socio-political musings belies this criticism of the band. There's war in the headlines, war in the heads, of the leaders who feed us till we're overfed, we're not hungry anymore for your diet of war, malnutrition for the global poor. What Lucas does well is he emphasises his resentment of the system by enunciating certain syllables to great effect. In a few lines he has captured, in laconic terms the mood of the world regarding the war against terror and the war in Iraq. He hasn't identified it blatantly, but there's not a doubt in my mind that this is what inspired This Year's War. Then there's Too Thin Too Fat, a verbal barrage on the pressures exerted on women to lose weight- Lucas remains relevant, down to earth and concise, poignantly stressing the hot topics of the 21st century. Who, in the 1980s would have predicted anorexia to be the subject of a Subhumans song twenty years on? Furthermore, the soaring backing vocals and harmonies of Culture Addict have proven to be major plus points of their recent tour. Vocally, the Subhumans have always been a memorable band, and Internal Riot proves to be no different.
Overall Impression — 9
A nine-minute opus called Never Ending War Song epitomises Internal Riot; an album of consistency, peaks and endurance. The Subhumans lay the gauntlet for today's young pretenders of punk rock and hardcore music scenes. Most would agree that another fabulous addition to this album is the sound of a mosquito buzzing before the final track, conveniently titled Mosquitos begins. What a lovely snippet of ingenuity and fun. The Subhumans aren't one of those bands that complain all in the name of doom and gloom; one feels that they're cheerful, but would like the political climate to reflect this. They may have made a quieter return than the Sex Pistols, but they haven proven their worth all the same.