Suicide Silence - Suicide Silence
So by now, I’m sure anyone who’s into any sub genre on the heavier side of the spectrum has heard at least one song teasing Suicide Silence’s self-titled fifth record, second with Eddie Hermida. The reaction hasn’t been exactly positive, yet I don’t personally believe the negative buzz around the band is fair or representative of what they’ve released. Regardless, this is an album I’ve had my eye on for a while, since adding clean vocals into a genre like deathcore can always go one of two ways.
The album kicks off with debut single, "Doris". The song starts off rather familiar for a Suicide Silence album: heavy guitars from the outset of the song following a short intro ending in a shout of “Fuck yeah!”. Hermida’s vocals come in, his typical style he’s adopted through the years with Suicide Silence and All Shall Perish before that, and the tone of his lyrics are nihilistic as ever. This continues until the chorus, where we reach “that note” - basically the sole reason behind the negativity surrounding the band's impending release. While I will say I can see where people’s issues lie with the note, Hermida has clearly intended for it to sound like such and, after a few listens, I actually don’t mind it. For me the song is a standard deathcore song, with a chorus that features Korn style vocals, and as Whitechapel saw, introducing clean vocals to such an extreme genre will always face resistance.
"Silence" follows, another song fans have already had access to sink their teeth into. This now shows the more mellow sound the band have teased in part in Doris, the vocals aren’t fully clean, yet the track isn’t a full on brutal assault on the ears. The influence from Korn is prevalent here, and with Hermida’s vocals not being the sole element of the track seemingly drawing inspiration from the band, the guitar effects at times are awfully reminiscent of Korn. While the music isn’t as in your face as their prior works, Hermida’s vocals do pick up to screams and yells. "Listen" follows pretty much the same pattern: both songs having a rather “Rock Radio”-esque feel to them as the song kicks in, before the instruments take a back seat underneath Hermida’s vocals. Yet "Listen" definitely features a vocal technique that would have fit on his first outing with the band on 2014’s You Can’t Stop Me. Or so that is at first. Hermida seems to taunt the listener, basically speaking in a deeper voice before the track descends into instrumental mayhem, with the guitars taking over completely in parts. This is offset against Hermida’s vocal angst crying out, really displaying the emotion of the track, before fading out with a long, eerie instrumental outro.
"Dying in a Red Room" crawls slowly out of the outro of "Listen", even Hermida’s vocals being soft and quiet. The song follows this stripped back approach, and while the naysayers of "Doris" and "Silence", could possibly hate this, I think the band have made a superb decision with this song. Hermidas vocals are haunting to say the least as he croons - "I’m dying through life, I’m living through death". Alex Lopez’s drumming takes a backseat and Mark Heylmun and Chris Garza’s guitar work makes up for most of the atmosphere the song wreaks of. We get yet another extended outro as Eddie’s vocals whisper and echo over the top of the instrumentals.
The antithesis of "Dying in a Red Room" is "Hold Me Up Hold Me Down", which begins with a singular hit on the drums before you hear Lopez piss around on his kit under the high pitched feedback that dominates the track. Before this however, you hear Lopez’ snare count the band into a brutal track that is completely the opposite of what they’ve sounded like just seconds before. The start of the track blends together the elements the band have been known for in the past: a tendency for every element to be heavy as fuck, but we still get breaks amongst the chaos for focus on more intricate guitar parts, which are then weaved in, before the track just goes off! Hermida’s demented cries of “Hold me up” precede the tracks descent into utter chaos, momentarily everything stops, before a solo guitar comes in near straight away. The guitar isn’t alone for long as Hermida shows he can still kill it alongside the rest of the band, with vocals echoing Suicide Silence material pre, The Black Crown and of course echoing the brilliance Hermida provided in All Shall Perish something some fans felt he didn’t bring to You Can’t Stop Me.
Quiet ensues again at the introduction of "Run" however this is momentarily interrupted by an explosion of sound from the band, before once again subsiding to reveal a quiet and minimalistic verse musically. The musical side of the track picks up in the chorus, yet Hermida doesn’t unleash the evil he does with his vocal chords as we just saw in the track before. The emotion however is put forward brilliantly in the vocals, and while I don’t believe it’s as strong as "Dying in a Red Room", "Run" is a great example of how Suicide Silence can deliver on a quieter, more austere approach to making a track. This stands until the song begins to head towards the end and the band unleash a breakdown out of one of the choruses; while tame compared to the band’s history, it shows again how the band can incorporate the different genres they want to represent themselves with. "The Zero" goes somewhat the same way, with a very mellow intro riff before near complete silence bar buzzing static. Previous effects from the band would have the listener prepare for a brutal onslaught of Suicide Silence’s heavier side, but instead the riff echoes back under Hermida’s vocals. The song also goes the heavier side on the songs way out as well, this time heavier than "Run" does too!
Penultimate track "Conformity" breaks all rules of conformity, with the song being even featuring acoustic guitar parts, and Hermida’s vocals being the softest and most gentle by far on the album. Another highlight of the band’s new sound for me, the band nail this track putting to rest any idea that they’ve gone astray with their new direction. The track also features a sleazy guitar solo that wouldn’t be out of place on an eighties glam metal ballad. Closing the record, "Don’t Be Careful, You Might Hurt Yourself' is another great banger on the heavy end of the spectrum; the intro reminiscent of "Slaves to Substance" that opened up 2011’s The Black Crown. For me thought the band don’t close out this chapter on the strongest of footings, one of the weaker and more forgettable tracks of the album, it feels like the band are trying to patch together pieces that just shouldn’t fit.
I feel Suicide Silence will shock some fans with the release of Suicide Silence since while they have teased the clean vocals the band will be using, the extent of the sound they’ve mixed in with their established genre could prove groundbreaking for the band. While I think another album will see this solidify, the band have put out an album they should be proud of.