"Join the Army" is the 2nd full-length studio album by American thrash metal/ crossover act Suicidal Tendencies. The album was released in May 1987 through Caroline Records. After gaining quite a bit of popularity in the wake of their 1983 self-titled debut album, Suicidal Tendencies endured quite a few lineup changes, but frontman Mike Muir and bassist Louiche Mayorga also spend time forming the Label Suicidal Records as well as the band Los Cycos. All factors that might explain the four year recording gap between the debut album and "Join the Army". One of the new members of the band was guitarist Rocky George and his more metal oriented type of playing would have great impact on the future of the band.
The music on "Join the Army" is crossover/thrash metal, which is most simply explained as thrash metal with hardcore punk influences. In this case it might be the other way around but that´s a minor detail. One of the major changes on "Join the Army" compared to the debut album is the inclusion of guitar solos but it´s also obvious that the band were generally moving in a more musically varied direction. They succeed to some extent and there are several "classics" among the tracks on the album like "Suicidal Maniac", "Join The Army", "Possessed To Skate" and "War Inside My Head". Unfortunately there are also some more mediocre tracks on the album and paired with a somewhat powerless sound production I think "Join the Army" is a slightly disappointing release compared to the strong debut. This is clearly a transition album where the band hadn´t fully made up their mind about the future direction of their music. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is warranted.