Suicide Silence continue their attempt to turn deathcore into an arena rock staple with their self-titled album. It’s their second LP since former singer Mitch Lucker died in a motorbike accident. His successor, Hernan “Eddie” Hermida has proven a popular choice with fans and critics alike. The versatile vocalist made an impact with 2015’s You Can’t Stop Me album and last year with the Sacred Words EP. The title track was, and is, a song worthy of mass singalongs. The experimental music and infectious chorus gave an indication of the direction SS would take with this album.
The commercial success and crossover appeal of Bring Me The Horizon have been noted, and the Californians may soon follow them into mainstream acceptability. Whether Hermida will be knocking over Coldplay’s table at next year’s award ceremonies remains to be seen, but Suicide Silence is a broad ranging record. A lack of consideration for what’s expected of them permeates this record. SS subvert standard metal tropes at every turn. Hermida's ability to switch from a guttural gurgling growl to black metal screeching, to a hard rock roar all in quick succession - coupled with the inventiveness of the music - make this a compelling listen.
Significantly, SS sound like they are enjoying themselves. Opening track ‘Doris’ starts in a deliberately stuttering fashion. The downtuned instruments play with precision but allow gaps to form. A Faith No More influenced chorus gives way to rollicking riffing and a lethal dose of phaser. ‘Silence’ has a slow off-kilter introduction; hammer-ons in the background build tension over Dan Kenny’s flapping bass strings.
‘Listen’ had a post-thrash feel. The heavily distorted guitar clipping in the intro leads to a chugging Prong-style riff and an explosive solo. Hermida’s vocal range expands to a smooth rock croon for ‘Dying In A Red Room’. Again Mike Patton comes to mind as the slow crescendo of the guitars rolls and submerges the morbid lyric. ‘Hold Me Up, Hold Me Down’ is a bouncy, headbanging nu-metal influenced number with some desperate cries from Hermida adding to the atmosphere.
It is remarkable that Suicide Silence is both solidly commercial in its execution and wildly, consistently experimental. It is a record with two distinct sides. The first half of the album is deathcore infused with other rock subgenres, while the second is much lighter, with little reference to the extreme end of the spectrum. While the guitar work is still innovative and sometimes surprising, Hermida sticks to mainstream singing, rarely veering further than Linkin Park territory.
There is a brief bout of screaming at the death of ‘The Zero’ before the acoustic guitars of ballad, ‘Conformity’. The heft returns for closer ‘Don’t Be Careful You Might Hurt Yourself’ and confirms that Suicide Silence have got the balance just right. The heavy and the light are present here in just the right proportion; this is emphasised as whistles, laughter and a single bell toll sign off the album.
If you think deathcore bands are sell-outs then this album won’t allay your fears, but if you yearn for the days when heavy bands were considered another branch of mainstream rock, then Suicide Silence is a major step in the right direction. I'll take this openness and breadth of songwriting over a hundred other bands giving us more of the same in 2017. This is probably not the album that will bring extreme metal into the public consciousness, but it may prove to be an important milestone en route. Suicide Silence have over 4 million Facebook fans and with this album they should keep most of them satisfied while reaching a new audience. They could yet become the biggest metal band on the planet. Don't fuck it up, guys!
Suicide Silence is available via Amazon.