Review Summary: "Suicide Silence remain in stylistic limbo"
Rarely in metal has the death of a frontman been as polarising as that of Mitch Lucker, with opinions being divided on his ability as a vocalist, his very worth as a person and the circumstances under which his life was tragically cut short. No matter what side of the fence you’re on, whether you consider him an inspiration, or a drunken lunatic with a contemptible disregard for his family, it’s inarguable that without him, Suicide Silence wouldn’t have shot to the kind of prominence that they did. Irrespective of peoples’ thoughts on the band itself, the reaction to Mitch’s maniacal performances was roundly laudatory, and his charismatic demeanour helped ensure Suicide Silence’s position as the poster boys of an otherwise largely ridiculed style of music.
Replacing a figure like Mitch was always going to be difficult, from both an artistic point of view and with regards to the band’s image. Do they start anew and leave the past behind them, discarding what Mitch would have brought to fruition should he have been here today? Do they honour their fallen brother and continue where he left off as some sort of retrospective gratification? Well, after leaving one of deathcore’s rare critically defendable acts, Eddie Hermida signalled his intention to mould Suicide Silence into something of his own, proudly exclaiming for us to “expect heavy, expect different” and yet, You Can’t Stop Me
feels like a wasted opportunity. Signs of creative delegation on Eddie’s part are definitely here and the band is livelier than ever from an instrumental perspective, but it’s still a Suicide Silence album. Anyone who expected high octane riff barrages a la All Shall Perish is going to be hugely disappointed, because barring a handful of tracks like the closer “Ouroboros”, it almost seems like the band are afraid to try anything even remotely new.
“Ending is The Beginning” hearkens to the overtly percussive stylings of The Cleansing
, while the title track feels like a throwback to the anthemic clichés of No Time to Bleed
. “Sacred Words” is the most distinguishable song thanks to some poppy sensibilities, making good use of clean, reverberant guitar lines and infectious vocal work during the chorus, but these moments of minor triumph are consistently subdued by track after track of samey, directionless nonsense. Even the brief guest performances from Corpsegrinder and Greg Puciato feel like little more than a vocal di
ck measuring contest for Eddie, who – it must be said – is still absolutely meteoric in the vocal department, duly saving the album from complete deplorableness. There’s a curious sense of Deja Vu then, with another talented frontman voluntarily teaming with a mediocre instrumental section, only this time at the cost of one of the genre’s most valuable assets.
So while You Can’t Stop Me
is an improvement for Suicide Silence, it’s important to remember that success is relative. The Black Crown
was, without exaggeration, one of the worst albums I’ve ever had the displeasure of hearing, and so the only possible way for the band to go was upwards. Perhaps You Can’t Stop Me
will prove to be transitional in years to come, as Mitch’s posthumous influence wanes and Eddie has the freedom to dictate the band’s musical endeavours, we just don’t know right now. For the time being however, Suicide Silence remain in a stylistic limbo, hinting at progress here and there but ultimately falling short of the mark, yet again.