This going to get controversial. Suicide Silence and their latest self titled album have been in the headlines a lot. From distancing themselves from their deathcore roots to the highly critical reception and fan backlash the band faced after releasing the first two singles. To drummer Alex Lopez lashing out at fans in a highly unprofessional manner and front man Eddie Hermida throwing other bands under the bus, blaming the likes of Thy Art Is Murder and others for killing off the genre. All in all it has been a messy situation indeed. However let’s put that aside, move past the arguing and focus on what truly matters… The music!
Doris opens the album and oh dear. This is where it all falls apart. The song starts off promising with some nu metal bounce that will get heads moving, but then… Then those much memed opening vocals of the chorus hit. They are just appalling. I get what Eddie was going for. Those over emotional, vocal wrenching highs may have looked good on paper but in reality it simply veered off into a joke. The whole low-fi, DIY garage band sound Suicide Silence opted for just makes these few lines sound weak. It doesn’t do the vocals any justice as I believe he does have a unique set of lungs on him. This applies for the instruments as well. This sort of tone and production is great for your old school punk/hardcore bands as it gives them that raw edge of aggression but here you want those riffs to sound huge, not thin.
Sadly this continues with Silence. The same problems arise. It starts off all head banging with chuggy guitars and smashed out drums then income the vocals. The lyrics are sung like a stroppy teenager arguing with their parents. Put this alongside poorly imitated Deftonesy and Korn-esque riffs and you have a recipe for head shaking. It is bewildering why Suicide Silence decided to use the two weakest songs for their opening gambit as the rest of the album tries its hardest to bring listeners back in.
The album picks up a little after the two singles are over and done with. Listen revs the engine a bit with some intense moments of drum and bass build up, eerie vocals and some squeally guitar licks. However it is once again all muddied by the production. It blurs everything together into a slightly incoherent mess. There are a few stand out songs. I got a kick out of Hold Me Up Hold Me Down. The song shows off what the new material should have been like. The blending of the old and new. The core of the song is made up of big heavy riffs with these groove like bridges that link Eddies vocals from his deep growls to screeched highs.
For me there is just far too many calm moments in Suicide Silence. Run, The Zero and Conformity are mediocre at best, boring at worst. Yes, Mark Heylmun throws in a shreddy neo classical guitar solo in Conformity that screams Metallica but that’s the only iconic moment. It feels like a chore to listen to these three songs. If you managed to slug through to the end you to get one final respite. The finale, Don’t Be Careful You Might Hurt Yourself is one of the highlights of the album. Plenty of death like blast beats, heavily palm muted guitars and all out vocals. Even the clean vocals feel like they belong!
Everything in Suicide Silence just sounds like it was a demo, a foundation for the band to work on. The album isn’t as bad as people are saying it is. It isn’t the death of Suicide Silence and no Mitch won’t be spinning in his grave. It’s just that Suicide Silence is so painfully average and for all their talk about evolving, it appears more like a regression. Throwing some nu metal grooves over intentionally creepy clean vocals is nothing new. It got covered in the 90s and in the early 2000s. The bands creative choice to go down this new path is commendable but if Suicide Silence continues down it, they better take on the criticism and adapt. There is a vein of greatness somewhere in all the mess that is their self titled album.