01. Straight Toward Extinction 02. Condemned to Suffer 03. Bleeding the Weak (MP3) 04. Heaven's Coming Down 05. Two-Thousand Years 06. From the Bottom 07. Destined to Burn 08. Pray for Salvation 09. Hypocrites of the Revolution 10. Vengeance for the Angels 11. Rise of the Anti-Christ 12. Gone Forever2003 Victory Records
No album should have to be waited on for five long years. With all honesty however, "Condemned To Suffer" is a masterpiece that makes the half-decade worth the grueling delay. And unlike the rising metal bands with industry plans and alcohol sponsorships, true underground music lives from day to day, much like All Out War has been during this hiatus, which has seen many of their original fans go into hibernation. In many ways their uncompromising attitude towards the scene put them on the backburner in terms of who was going to be climbing the popularity ranks of the hardcore and metal world. They were and still are a band known to depend on themselves in every sense imaginable, an ethic that has seen them reject insufficiently paying opener slots on big tours, pay no undeserved respect to flash in the pan scene favorites, and most importantly, a band that has never altered their sound for the sake of mass appeal, as so many metal and hardcore bands have found it increasingly easier to do in recent years (as the genre percolates into suburban homes all around the country via MTV and Hot Topic). Despite having existed for nearly fifteen years, All Out War has once more evolved to a point of metal mastery that not even the most zealous fan could have anticipated. On what will prove to be their breakthrough third album, "Condemned To Suffer" showcases deeply remorseless musical and ideological performances from five serious men, three of whom picked up from where they left off on 1998’s landmark album, "For Those Who Were Crucified." The songwriting has changed little since then, as guitarist Taras Apuzzo still unfailingly applies the same deadly song structure filled with numerous breaks and countless lethal riffs that has become their trademark. Whatever little hardcore All Out War had in them since their early days has now been almost completely substituted by that which they are best known for, an apocalyptic, relentless, and reproachful type of heavy metal. The exception to the rule is "Destined To Burn," one of the earliest All Out War songs, as previously heard on their self-released demo, "Sum Of All Fears," and Gain Ground Records debut album, Truth In The Age Of Lies." This crowd favorite has clearly stood the test of time as it has not been reworked at all for inclusion on "Condemned To Suffer," yet its impact is undeniable with Cro-Mags-styled verse patterns, group chants in the chorus, and an endless outro breakdown. Album closer "Gone Forever" shares a similar amount of punchy hardcore brutality and shows that All Out War still possesses the proficiency to write some of the best crossover songs ever. On an album that very few expected All Out War to make, they demolish all expectations and boundaries. The return of original member and songwriter Jesse Sutherland (replacing drummer extraordinaire Matt Byrne who is now with Hatebreed) has created a nice lineage that helped to bridge the gap between albums, as his brutal yet dependable presence is immediately heard at the outset of "Straight Towards Extinction," the album’s opener. He shines brilliantly throughout, making his return to the fold a more than favorable decision for the solidity of All Out War. Longtime friend of the band Andy Pietrolungo now occupies the big hole left by the departure of Erik Carillo, who still remains closely involved with the band. To dissect the songs piece by piece would do more harm than good for a band whose mature and cohesive compositions command total awe for their staggering quality and consistency. The dedication of Mike Score to the very band he founded is one of, if not the, driving force of All Out War. His harrowing screams dominate those of hotshot frontmen considered to be among the genre’s best, and the lyrical feats of "Condemned To Suffer" are worth the purchase of the album alone. Drawing from intricate historical and contemporary political and social issues, the lyrics serve to educate just as much as shock. Bottom Line: "Condemned To Suffer" displays a band who are still in their prime, a rare feat especially five years after releasing what many considered to be among the best crossover records ever. In addition to showcasing one of the best production jobs of the year thanks to the staff at Big Blue Meenie in Jersey, All Out War brought more than enough material into the studio to make another classic, with eleven brand new songs. While the current state of generic music and fashion have indeed carried the hardcore scene as we once knew it into an eternal disappearance, All Out War has remained musically unchanged and on top of the heap.