Review Summary: A shift in gears towards more of a metalcore sound has proven beneficial for Suicide Silence, but they still haven't overcome the flaws in their sound.
When you are a band in a stagnant genre, you have to accomplish something that sets you apart from everyone else. You have to rise above the generic aspects of a sound that is all too familiar to everyone and present something both fresh and original. If this isn't done, then the band will just become another lost to a sound far too duplicated by countless others. Suicide Silence have been the poster boys for deathcore for quite some time now. Their debut album The Cleansing
was, while generic at some points, a fun album. For this matter, many never gave them any *** but they were still sticking to a formula we had all heard before. The chugging riffs and breakdowns and unmemorable drumming got stale fast and left only a few noteworthy tracks. No Time To Bleed
served as no more than a replica of their debut but failed in the one spot that the aforementioned album (sometimes) succeeded with offering a fun track here and there. Instead, the production was left muddy and the songs sounded as generic as ever. Its hard to listen to a deathcore album, but its even more hard to listen to one when it flows like one huge breakdown. With The Black Crown
, however, something has changed.
The first thing you will notice about The Black Crown
is that Suicide Silence aren't pulling any wild cards on their third full length. The sound of the band is still intact, but they are pushing in a different direction now. Opener Slaves To Substance wastes no time in bringing back the chugging riffs, fast drumming, and relentless breakdowns that plagued the previous two outings. The song is heavy and should be extremely fun live, but on the album it sounds dry and never reaches a peak. The lead towards the middle of the song is a variation of the lead in the ending breakdown of "No Pity For A Coward", and I could have sworn I heard it in another one of their songs too. This doesn't go to show that the entire album will be like this though, as "O.C.D" and "Human Violence" offer thrash influenced down-tuned riffs and great vocal deliveries by Mitch Lucker. By the time you get to the middle of the album, it is clearly evident that they are morphing their sound into metalcore, as the riffs have taken more of a groove-like feel and Lucker tries out a new whispering style "clean" vocal on many of the songs. While this certainly doesnt signify a huge leap in their sound, it offers something different from them and honestly, something much needed.
Another thing the band have tried with this release is the inclusion of guest vocalists. Jonathan Davis of Korn and Frank Mullen of Suffocation appear on "Witness the Addiction" and "Smashed" respectively. The former is one of the more groove influenced tracks on the album and actually takes on a sense of melody when Davis takes over for the chorus, but even though this is something radically different for Suicide Silence the generic chugs make it sound like a bad Korn deathcore outtake. The band have stated that Slipknot and Korn are major influences on their sound, but that doesn't mean they should be trying to combine nu-metal with their sound. Frank Mullen's guest spot, however, is well placed. His performance on Smashed goes really well with Lucker's as the two scream back and forth. While they both are by no means spectacular, they offer something that No Time To Bleed
Despite the fact that the band have tried a lot of different things around, my point earlier still remains in the fact that its hard to listen to an album like this all the way through. Suicide Silence have began to push out of their comfort zone as a band, but they still aren't recognizing a lot of the flaws in their sound. Chris Garza and Mark Heylmun are still bringing chugging riffs to the table, but their lack of creativity as guitarists is holding them back from achieving anything noteworthy on The Black Crown
. Some of the riffs here are interesting (like the thrash riffs in "Human Violence" or the groove riffs in "*** Everything") but the leads are still recycled repeatedly and offer nothing new. Dan Kenny's bass lines are still low in the mix and do nothing to stand out, and Alex Lopez' drumming still sticks to the same formula of keeping a fast pace and providing blast beats. The member who continues to succeed is Mitch Lucker. As a vocalist, he continues to push his limits and improve his screaming on each release and The Black Crown
is no exception to this. His screaming is powerful and easily the best part about the band, and his new whispering "clean" style is not overused either and offers the occasional break from his screaming.
The ten tracks on this album (the pointless "March To The Black Crown" interlude serves no point in being on the album) are all easily fit for a live show, and in the end that is what Suicide Silence are best at. On their albums, they fail to be and sound as fun as they do live, and a lot of songs on The Black Crown
are truly meant for their live show. Even the lyrics are sometimes painful to listen to, but the heavy aspect of the songs make the songs perfect for the live setting. The pits will go nonstop to just about every track here, and I think that is exactly what they were aiming for. So, in a stagnant genre, do anything to stand out? Not quite yet, but with The Black Crown
they show they are trying to and this might develop more on their future releases.