Review Summary: Suicide Season is an album fueled by an angry, depressing energy, an album made by a band that forgot that in order to make a good album, along with strong emotion, you need to write good music, too.
When a band wants to record an album driven mostly or completely by raw passion, an album that’s meant to take the listener specifically on an emotional
journey, the album still must be made with love and care in order for it to sound coherent, even if the emotion the band wishes to express doesn’t coincide with “love” or “care” in any way. Even if the concept behind an album is merely pure angst and frustration, an effort must still be made to write and arrange the songs so they flow and actually go somewhere. For example, Converge’s metalcore masterpiece, Jane Doe,
sports the concept of a man maddened, saddened, and frustrated beyond belief because of a lost love. But even though these emotions carry on through pretty much the entire album, the riffs and rhythms were still crafted with meticulous precision, probably with the band members being happy with how the songs turned out, or excited to write a new one, without the frustration getting in the way. If this effort isn’t made, the album turns into a go-nowhere mess of awkward instrumentation and monotonous words fueled entirely by different sides of one emotion. In other words, you get Bring Me The Horizon’s Suicide Season.
Literally every track on the album’s lyrical content has to do with the band’s vocalist and lyricist, Oli Sykes’s anger with either himself or the typical nameless female. He does have some potential as a lyricist, and there are a few good lines here and there, but most of the time the words suffer from what I was talking about earlier; they’re being sung while pissed off, without any non-pissed off thought somewhere along the lines of “hey, that line may be a little much.” This causes some stanzas to go from unsubtle to just plain ridiculous. Like in “Sleep With One Eye Open,” in which Oli screams;
…And you better ***ing bow down to me
You better beg for mercy
Get on your ***ing knees, and cry me a ***ing river.
No creativity, no originality, just plain, uninteresting anger. That stanza in particular is also quite overly vulgar, which leads to another thing that could definitely help improve Oli’s lyrics; some subtlety. More often than not, the subject of the song is stated quite clearly (laced with many a “***”), leaving hardly anything open to interpretation. Another example of this being from “The Sadness Will Never End;”
Try to numb the pain with alcohol and pills,
But it won’t repair your trust.
You can’t stand on two ***ing feet with a substance as a crutch.
It’s an attempt at a creative metaphor, I’ll give it that, but it ultimately leaves the listener unfulfilled, for they’ve practically just had an explanation of the song screamed into their ears. And on a related note, it doesn’t help that these lyrics are delivered by Oli’s irritatingly over-raspy yell that nearly makes my throat bleed just listening to it. It’s tolerable the first couple songs, but onward through the album it really does grow pretty annoying.
And just like the vocals and a lot of the lyrics, this album’s instrumentation is executed with an amateur, sloppy angst, and the song structures are quite often unorganized, and sometimes just plain messy. Many songs are loaded with awkward transitions and pauses, and there isn’t a single riff in any of the songs that I would consider to be memorable. And of course, there’s the gimmicky breakdown or two, or three, that seem to be plaguing many metalcore/deathcore albums these days.
Sometimes songs are also carried on too long, like “Death Breath,” a song in which Oli repeats many of the same lines, many times. The song clocks in at 4 minutes and 21 seconds, but could really be cut down to about 3 minutes. Even then, it would still be too long, and definitely still remain the most monotonous song on the album. “Chelsea Smile” could be shortened too, and for that matter, so could the album’s closer, “Suicide Season,” an 8-minute epic that I’m assuming is supposed to be just that. Epic, and emotionally grueling. Unfortunately, while it begins promising enough, it meanders for what feels like forever, and fails to get me emotionally involved.
Some mildly enjoyable parts of the album are around the 2 and a half minute mark of “Chelsea Smile,” in which Oli yells a, lyrically, pretty decent stanza (it flows well, anyway), backed up by some cool drum fills and a high guitar part that does its best to soar. The entire duration of “The Sadness Will Never End” is actually pretty good, (besides the lyrics, for reasons I mentioned earlier). It’s probably got the most coherent structure of all the songs on the album, and it has a potentially-good-but-far-too-short solo as well. The minute-long, cleverly titled “No Need For Introductions, I’ve Read About Girls Like You On the Backs of Toilet Doors” is also good for a laugh, although I don’t think it was supposed to be.
Most of the rest of the album though is an angsty, awkward mess. And it’s too bad, because if the band had took the time to realize that in order to make a good album, you have to record well-written music and
emotion, not just one or the other, they may have been able to salvage a decent metalcore effort here. Hey, Bring Me the Horizon, even though Jane Doe may just be a generic name given to a girl whom represents a lost love, she still may be able to teach you guys a thing or two.