Sickside Stories

Artist: Sick SymphoniesTitle: Sickside StoriesRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Wacko

Rising from the underground battlefield is the Sick Symphonies camp, loaded with lyrics of street tales and life experiences. In 1997 Sony released The Psycho Realm, the debut album from the group of the same name, made up of brothers Jacken and Duke, and B-Real of Cypress Hill. In 1999 tragedy struck when Duke was shot at a hamburger stand in LA, leaving him permanently paralyzed from the neck down. Undaunted, the group went on to independently release A War Story, Book 1 and its followup, Book 2. Soon after that, Jacken joined forces with cousin group Street Platoon to form Sick Symphonies. This collective has amassed a legion of devoted fans in Southern California and across the world, and Sickside Stories (Paladin SuperCo/Image) is their first album since the merger.

As the chapters begin to unfold in this album you can hear the frustration for change, and anger towards the music industry. “Cointelpro” explains the war between the corporate industry and independent artists. “Ghetto Sport” takes you to the street court were only the strongest survive and the winner will stay alive. Throughout the album the Sickside soldiers attack President Bush, with lines like, “…the President committed treason, it’s the reason we stand and fight / though the darkness and the light the government lied, soldiers died…” on “Reason to Fight”. You can hear the diversity of elements as all members participate in the production, separating this album from previous ones. Newest member DJ FM brings his talented skills with scratches, giving character to each track. Recently the group has been on the road, and “SS International” tells the tales and experiences of performing across the globe. “Got to keep grinding, jump on a flight / about fourteen hours long so I’m spending the night / go to France, Germany, Vienna, whatever man / three-hour layover in Amsterdam

Sick Symphonies seems to have no boundaries on “Fuckin Robots”, taking aim at the radio stations and mainstream artist: “They all look like robots to me / these rappers, DJs, producers don’t have brains of there own / they’re all owned, trapped in a zone.” One criticism of Sickside Stories is that at points through the album they seem to contradict themselves, jumping back and forth from positive lyrics to lyrics that espouse exactly the opposite. But that notwithstanding, if you are tired of the same old melodies with no purpose and no truth in the lyrics, then this may be the album for you.