Review – Suicide Silence: Suicide Silence

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  • Bio: "Riverside, California's Suicide Silence formed in 2002. A quintet, the band specialized in that 21st century metal phenomenon known as deathcore, and was signed to international mega metal label Century Media. - Billboard.com
  • Label: Nuclear Blast Records
  • Release Date: February 24th, 2017
  • Genre: Alternative Metal, Deathcore, Stoner Rock
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

Suicide Silence is easily one of the most prominent names in the deathcore movement, right next to the likes of Job for a Cowboy and Whitechapel among many others. Much like those aforementioned groups, this five-piece decided to go ahead and change their sound, taking from their love of the same nineties-era legends I grew up with. So hearing of the imminent directional shift, I was a bit leery but still entered into the fray with an open mind. But with fan backlash and members not really taking well to the negative criticism and insulting those dedicated to the group that helped get them to where they are in the first place (i.e. long time fans), one could only wonder what lies in store on their brand new self-titled release. But was it an underrated effort, or were the fears of those devoted fully justified?

Ok, first things first: The audio quality. Much like any album to fall into the “nu-metal” category of the time, this venture was produced by Ross Robinson, a name linked to some of the greatest albums to carry such a label at that time. Here, however, we are met with a total mess. While trying to capture the hazy stoner qualities of Deftones, particularly White Pony, we are greeted with down-tuned bass that sounds negatively disgusting and overmodulated, complete with hefty reverb on Herman’s vocals that Joe Barresi definitely did not mix well at all. You can even hear it on his channel of the mixer that only further huts the final product.

Another huge issue with Suicide Silence is that it doesn’t really grasp how important a steady foundation is when composing a song. “Run” is the perfect example with its furious start that caves to a drug addled crawl of a main verse, only to cut to a very catchy, mainstream radio friendly chorus with suddenly muffled vocals in dire need of some auto-tuning and the generic alt-rock unintimidating breakdown later on. It’s a jumbled mess that sounds like nothing but noise, fuzz, and god awful vocal reverb you hear constantly. Then there’s the laid back sounding “Zero” which has a bit of an astral tone to the clean guitars prior to the Slipknot inspired chorus, but even the atmosphere is nearly impossible to get into when you’re stuck listening to said vocal issues repeating the same line through yet another distortion about eight times, not to mention a funny as hell grunt early on.

“”From the band to you the fans we hope you had some bad ass, family filled, lovely holidays but now is the time to get what you really wanted and have been waiting for. […] Sui is BACK!””

– Suicide Silence

There are a small handful of songs that you could consider any good. “Conformity” does suffer a bit from some audio issues such as volume to the guitar in the solo, but the song as a whole is comparable to scraping the bottom of the barrel with a bottle of your favorite liquor slipping out of your grasp as the world spins by. There’s also “Dying in a Red Room”, which is a surprisingly laid back experience overall, showing some fluidity from start to finish that is both natural and well composed. It also utilizes some restraint on Herman, keeping his range confined enough to not really go off-key or sound like he’s throwing a temper tantrum. The biggest faults here, however, is that it sounds like a Deftones track due to the Primitivegrade Soulfly chunk around four minutes in, not to mention it also contains the most unoriginal nineties lyrics imaginable.

Those two latter points also sum up “Hold Me Up Hold Me Down”, but throw in some catchy KoRn grooves from time to time as well. Save for the annoying chorus that doesn’t really suit the foundation of the performance much, this is one of the better aggressive tracks the album has to offer. That is if you can make out the guitars between the overmodulated sounding bass chords, loud drum presence, and when the exhaustive breakdown and brief bout of blast beats throw general music theory out the damn window to appeal to their now alienated deathcore fan base.

The final bit of praise to be given is that Suicide Silence does carry itself like a conceptual album. You slowly sink closer to the worst you can get, linking some songs by general environment, or just recorded studio segments like someone speaking or drum sticks falling. “Don’t Be Careful You Might Hurt Yourself” acts like a sudden jolt back to life with an early grindcore assault before you crash back to reality and have to come to terms with what happened across the previous eight songs. It’s unclear if that’s the goal regardless how many spins, but if not there is that take away at least, and it does put the album into perspective a little more.

Suicide SilenceThe new Suicide Silence sounds like the incoherent, unformulaic product of a bunch of nineties nu-metal fans in eighth grade with a shoestring budget for production and engineering. It’s a hazy mess of hero-worship by fans of that era’s leaders who don’t understand what made them such powerful acts at the time in the first place. Yes, it has some positive aspects to it, but those are very few and far between, or were done to death well over twenty years ago. There is a decent album under the horrible production and off-key vocal harmonizations, but as it stands, Suicide Silence is more an assault on your concept of what music is.