By Anthony Joseph
Suicide Silence are back this year with their brand new self-titled LP. This is the band’s fifth studio record, the first since 2014’s ‘You Can’t Stop Me’, and their second on the Nuclear Blast label. This is also their second full length album to feature vocalist Eddie Hermida, who replaced the late Mitch Lucker. I’ll admit, I am a big Suicide Silence fan and have been since 2007’s ‘The Cleansing’, and I was actually quite skeptical myself coming into this new album because of what the band had previously been saying in interviews leading up to the premiere of the first single ‘Doris’. The song raised quite the controversy over the internet and the metal community because of its use of clean vocals and analog tape recording, and ultimately the loss of some of the band’s fanbase as a result of this newfound musical direction they were going in.
Now to understand this record and their “change” of style, you have to start with their producer Ross Robinson who really needs no introduction after producing genre-defining records by Korn, Sepultura, Slipknot, etc. What Suicide Silence did here with Ross was break outside the mould of deathcore and do something a little more true to their hearts, both musically and sonically. This album was recorded to analog tape like all the records Ross had produced previously, and I must say that is a big plus for me, and I cannot begin to tell you how much I hate modern digital production like what is typically used in the deathcore genre, so this is refreshing to hear. Ross did a fantastic job overall with the production on this LP and made it sound true to life, like the band was sitting directly in front of you creating this music right there on the spot. The guitars sound warm, the drums sound fat, the bass tone is excellent which makes bassist Dan Kenny the star of the show. The vocals also have a very direct feel with very little use of effects to color the sound.
Now onto what we are all here for… the actual sound of the record itself. I would like to call this an experimental record, whether this is the band’s new direction from here on out or just a glimpse of something new, I personally don’t care because I enjoyed listening to this record. It’s heavy at times, it’s melodic at times, it’s different at times, it’s what the fuck.. at times. Even at 9 songs on this record it still felt like I was listening to many different elements all combined together in some sort of musical orgy that just happens to work out for the better. Like on the song ‘Dying In A Red Room’, it has a strong slow-paced Deftones-esque approach both musically and vocally and also reminds me a bit of Korn’s ‘Alone I Break’ with the choice of guitar tone that is being used. The clean vocal parts on the verse of the song ‘Run’ have an almost ’80s new-wave ballad kind of vibe which I can appreciate, and the chorus is ultra-catchy. To be quite honest, it sounds like a metalized cover song of an ’80s song but it’s actually an original.
There are parts on songs that sound even like vintage Korn, but if Korn incorporated guitar noodling and blast beats, like on the track ‘Hold Me Up Hold Me Down’. There is also a Suicide Silence signature breakdown on this song that harkens back to ‘The Cleansing’ era of the band. I don’t want to keep bringing up the Korn comparison but it has to be mentioned because it’s there and unmistakable when you hear it. ‘The Zero’ is a song I like quite a lot which might be my favorite on the record. To me it has the most focused sound and idea other than any of the other songs. ‘Conformity’ has clean singing that is probably Eddie’s most ambitious vocal performance on the record. It even has a strong jazz vocal styling which surprised me quite a bit. The solo on this song is simplistic but fits the mid-paced nature of the track. “Conformity is the secret”, as Eddie says in the song, so why the fuck should they conform to what people want them to be, and this song sets the perfect example of them doing something totally different. Eddie’s clean vocals remind me a lot of Gavin Haynes from the band Dredg. Most people have said the cleans remind them of something they would hear from Chino Moreno of Deftones, but I disagree. ‘Don’t Be Careful You Might Hurt Yourself’ is the last track on the album and the most familiar-sounding Suicide Silence song on offer here with its opening blast beats and chugging dissonance, but when it gets to the chorus it’s actually quite melodic with its layering and lead sounds over heavy complex riffing. The ending of this song leaves you with creepy whistling that is actually quite haunting in itself.
Overall, this is a strong record for the band and in no way a step backwards. It is the record the band themselves have always wanted to make, especially letting their true influences shine through, and working with their dream producer Ross Robinson also brought a lot out of the band in order to create a record of this nature. I wish more bands would follow this blueprint and make music true to their hearts and not what the fans are always wanting to hear. Music should be made to satisfy the band first and not the fans, and that’s exactly what Suicide Silence did on this record.
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Record Label: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: February 24th 2017
1. Doris (4:28)
2. Silence (4:40)
3. Listen (5:32)
4. Dying in a Red Room (4:45)
5. Hold Me Up, Hold Me Down (5:18)
6. Run (4:26)
7. The Zero (4:54)
8. Conformity (5:54)
9. Don’t Be Careful, You Might Hurt Yourself (4:21)