Review - Battle Hymns

Artist: Suicide Machines

Got punk? If your collection falls a little short in the mohawk-sporting categories, allow me to recommend this sophomore effort from Detroit's Suicide Machines. The four-piece band skillfully stirs ska and pop elements into their punk stew to come up with a fine sequel to their 1996 debut, "Destruction By Definition." The lyrics aren't deep but they are heartfelt. Their signature tempo changes are more clever than graceful, and the overall sound is intense rather than dense.

Producer Julian Raymond and the band have really taken advantage of CD clarity to create a remarkably sparkling sound on songs such as "Black and White World" and "Speak No Evil." From thrash to bash -- with a slice of skank and a sprinkle of California punk -- Suicide Machines remind me of sliding down a twisting slide: You never quite know which direction you're going in next, but it's all fun and you surely won't mind landing on your ass.

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