Biohazard - Means To An End - SPV Records
10 Songs
Running Time: 33:49

Biohazard need no introduction. By now, you're either skipping to the next review, smirking at the New York crew's very existence, or you're clenching your prison-bitch tatted fists, nodding your head to Means To An End already, only reading far enough to see if I'm "true", "down", or "hardcore" enough to "get it".

Well, stop reading now then, because not only do I not "get it". I don't want it. I'll admit to liking 75% of Urban Discipline, but not enough to hear the 25% I didn't like rerecorded six times since. And that's just what Biohazard's done...again. Oh, sure, there are moments of Means To An End that had me nodding my head, debating finding six hundred of my closest friends and having them jump up and down on the Ambassador bridge with me, but those seconds were few and far between.

'My Life, My Way' is confusing, containing both the by-now overused lyric "the memory remains" (expect Metallica's lawyers to come a-callin') and references to unslayable dragons, which are as out of character for a band from Brooklyn as a Rhapsody song about "keeping it real". Biohazard's never been about lyrical eloquence, though, much more comfortable in the intensely visceral than the fantastic. It's just that when the music is so biodegradable (pun intended), the lyrics have to step up and cover the bases. Unfortunately, they don't. The ham-handed solo in 'The Fire Burns Inside' seems lazy and uninspired, and by the time the pummelcore chorus of 'Killing To Be Free' drags things to a crawl, even that spark of excitement isn't enough to strike flame. 'Break It Away From Me' passes by almost before I realize that it's the third song I haven't been interested enough in to pay attention, only to make way for 'Kings Never Die', in which Prisonhazard doubles the pace of their hardcore, tossing a pretty decent seconds-long solo in for good measure. More material with the strength of 'Kings...' would've produced a far better album, but the songs just aren't there, much as they haven't been since the Urban Discipline days. Some will mark me as too old-school to appreciate the new style of Biohazard, but that's where my problem with this band largely lies. While contemporaries like Pro-Pain have taken their thug-core beginnings and built ever-so-slowly upon them - creating with their new album a fairly potent mixture of old-school cred and new-school experimentation - Biohazard has stagnated to the point where each album seems more hardcore-by-the-numbers than the last. It's frustrating, because I'm far from calling into question the ethics of the band. I'll never say they're not true to what they do, or true to themselves. It's just that I'd like a bit more originality or musical growth by this point. 'Set Me Free' nearly redeems a few of the worst songs, containing both an inspired delivery and solid musicanship. It's just a damn shame that it took them until the last song to find their groove.

The guys in Cell Block D, your tattoo artist, and everyone in Brooklyn will love it. Hardly anyone else will even see it on their radar. Ah, well...better luck next crime.

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