Review Summary: A great debut full of solid drumming, beautiful keyboard work and some solid enough riffs that makes for an enjoyable listen
In an ocean of bands that seem to do very little to give their genre any selling points, five-piece deathcore act Make Them Suffer appear to have at least attempted to ditch these preconceptions people may hold. They are a band that fuses elements of black metal, death metal and symphonic music into one large concoction of awesome riffs, beautiful keyboard work and stellar drumming to make for a highly enjoyable release. Their debut album is entitled Neverbloom and was released to a whirlwind of attention in 2012, with some claiming it to be a fantastic album and others saying that the obvious -core influence detracted a little from it. Both statements would be correct to a certain extent.
At first glance, the idea of deathcore fused with elements of black metal (mainly the high pitched shrieks characteristic of that genre) and symphonic music, with the occasional burst of clean singing from a female would sound very disjointed. By the fifteen minute mark, however, this idea should be blown straight out the window. The keyboards are incessantly chiming away at times, making for a beautiful backdrop. Indeed, songs like Maelstrom initially seem completely hinged around this element of their sound, opening up with the varied high-end sounds of the keyboard. This is not true either, as the rest of the band more than holds their own throughout the entire forty six minute running time of Neverbloom.
The drumming is a clear highlight, with the blast beats feeling very organic and not sounding overly processed due to a nice production job. The slower beats that are occasionally found feel like snippets of diamond atop an already gold-laden table. The drummer's performance maintains a dominating presence all the way through, setting a variety of tempos that the rest of the band keep up with nicely. The bass is scarcely audible but when it is it anchors the music with a constant rumbling that bridges the gap between the low-end guitar and the drums. The riffs are bludgeoning throughout, keeping a very heavy sound that caves in your skull with a range of fast and slower guitar lines that pummel you to the ground.
However, this is not an album that is anywhere close to perfect as it has a few flaws. For starters, the vocals are both very loud in the mix and frequently very annoying. The low growls feel too processed whilst the highs are absolutely out of control and do not really suit the nature of the instrumentation. The female vocals that pop up occasionally are rather nice and well performed however, and do a little to make up for this. Another problem that can be heard on this release is the painfully obvious flaw with most deathcore-the breakdowns are generic and poorly handled. Even the keyboard work on the first proper track of the album does not distract from the irritating open string chugging.
When these elements are cast aside, this album is a great release that holds its own in a market full of bands that seek to do absolutely nothing fresh with the tired and worn out sound of deathcore. Neverbloom is a solid debut from a band that clearly possesses a whole lot of talent, and it will be interesting to see where they go with said sound next.