June 21, 2011 - Good Fight
No one expects a band with members of Hatebreed and Terror to sound anything else than tough-guy hardcore. It’s like when you buy your favorite brand of veggie burgers: You know exactly what you’re going to get, and what it’s going to taste like—and you know you’ll like it. But the hope with any of these side projects is that they can match the intensity of the groups from which their “all-star” members came from. And “side project”—or “all-star band,” should we be so bold—is a category S.O.S. definitely fall under, as vocalist Scott Vogel and drummer Nick Jett still toil away in Terror and bassist Chris Beattie logs time in Hatebreed. Add in the fact that this is guitarist Matt Henderson’s first band in several years (since his involvement with Agnostic Front and Madball), and Trapped Under Ice guitarist Sam Trapkin is in the mix, and it’s pretty damn obvious that S.O.S. have some lofty standards to uphold.
Herein lies the rub. S.O.S. are good, but they aren’t that good. In other words, we’d never throw the I Owe You Nothing EP on the sound system over, say, Supremacy or Always The Hard Way. The riffs are solid (“Part Of The Disease”), the lyrics are fist-pumping (“Keep Me Outside”) and there are even moments of hardcore inventiveness (like the double-speed harmonics riff in “The Hard Truth”). But, really, this is for tough-guy hardcore completists that have already worn out their copies of the parent bands’ albums and are looking for more of the same—but not quite as monolithic and with slightly different song titles.