Review Summary: Suicide Silence is able to overshadow the never ending cyber-vigil to Mitch Lucker and let us appreciate the good and the bad on You Can’t Stop Me.
Suicide Silence is in the awkward predicament of making it past a sort of "Dimebag" affliction. Whenever a key and popular member in a group unfortunately leaves us, or the band during its prominence, it always seems to lead to blind messiah worshipping over applauding the objective contributions he or she made to music. This is not always the case, but it is safe to make the assumption that too many people in this instance have made the passing of a solid vocalist a superficial eulogy, rather than giving an honest, heart-felt farewell to an icon. This has been said a hundred times before, but it must be considered before acknowledging how well Suicide Silence has actually done on this new release. So, hopefully upon releasing their latest instalment, Suicide Silence is able to overshadow the never ending cyber-vigil to Mitch Lucker and let us appreciate the good and the bad on You Can’t Stop Me.
Following the very small trend in their discography, the band seem to have hit a plateau when it comes to their material. It is almost like there was this urge to combine the more blatant palm and grind of No Time To Bleed with the forced atmosphere and variance of The Black Crown, and while each song on its own has some moments of the monster within, the band just loses control of the intended impression through a serious lack of focus and dryness. With this, we are given a solid album with twelve tracks that juxtapose themselves constantly, losing our attention from beginning to end. “Sacred Words” and “Inherit The Crown,” rooted more heavily in the metalcore habits of the last release, actually play well to Hermida’s vocal work on the album, but as you ease into a smoother side of Suicide Silence, you are bludgeoned to boredom with breakdowns and dull, almost comic, attempts at hooks. It is nice to hear a tempered attempt at melody and traditional, death metal elements, yet it doesn’t fit in the abrasive manner Suicide Silence works it. You Can’t Stop Me has countless build-ups, and as they grow to the alps of splendor, they die under the thunder of lazy breakdowns, which is the most infuriating part of You Can’t Stop Me. One can hear that this album is somehow trying to break out of the cement blocks of bad habits that held them to the ocean floor on the last three attempts, but, just as they seem to ascend to the surface, Suicide Silence decide to just swim to bottom again, rehashing the old bottom string tedium; never getting a breath of air. The album makes the listener claustrophobic because of this, and when the suddenness of chug is on their side, the band show a newly found dynamism to the Suicide Silence guitar-assault through the inclusion of a stronger melodic foreground. Yet, the constant overplaying of this fits like tweed in summer, and even if the return to roots has been melodically fashioned in some areas, the album is still uncomfortable to listen to in succession. The constant interchange from dark resonance to template death metal clichés is so apparent that one can’t stop me from being agitated after the second listen. Overall, this album instrumentally plays a scenario where Lopez recycles more than Al Gore’s cleaning lady, with Garza and Heylum taking thinners to all frets but the 1, 3 and 4. Yes, there are some quick and quirky solos, but shoved into the maze of palm-muting and ‘dum dum dum dum’, it merely is a distraction from their inability to let The Cleansing ***ing go already.
Although, this is nothing new to anyone who is familiar to the Suicide Silence discography, and playing it safe, song by song, is probably the wisest move on their part considering the introduction of Eddie Hermida. Now, just for the record, I love Hermida’s vocal work on this album; his clarity, control, and attitude work well with Suicide Silence’s strengths on this release. Songs like “Cease to Exist” and “You Can’t Stop Me” give a lot of punch, and under the immense amount of production here, there is a serious amount of anger to the themes, with the instrumental swarm lifting him to the front of this release. It is just a pity that his clarity actually reveals some of the shoddy lyrical work and stylistic repetition. “Don’t Die” and “We’ve All Had Enough” have the cringe-factor attached, with the lyrics being poorly worked into the track, while excessive recurrence and inflection makes them lazy and a lacklustre listen. I actually felt incredibly awkward listening to such an angry and powerful vocal performance with lyrics so tame and blatant. Yet, in the end, his work is noteworthy, and the band’s choice to bring him in as the replacement vocalist probably is for the best, considering his flexibility. Even though thematically the vocals are poor, his unambiguous, roaring range could elevate this release to be Suicide Silence’s strongest to date.
What saves this album is the pace and overall energy one gets upon first listening to it. Don’t even attempt to listen to this album with the expectations that Suicide Silence have rewritten the deathcore train. As a massive attempt of avoiding the word ‘generic’ is near impossible, you should be smacked through the face with the wet-end of your own limb if you expect this to be any different from previous releases. Yet this is its point of power. The band has secured its sound after a massive loss, and for those who are wanting to access the change will hear a solid performance by the band, instead of misguided compensation. The production, the vocals, and overall feel of the album represents an unyielding group and they honestly could care less about external opinions.
If I could choose one song off the album to say that the band is better for having the balls to move forward, “Ouroboros” comes to mind. This song is hostile, tuneful, and has simply cut away the bull*** to reveal a band that has definitely taken steps forward in an attempt to lessen the heat on the receiving end of internet judgments and superficial mourning. It proves that the band is more than happy to stay where they are and work on their strengths. Even if it takes a new vocalist, a lot of salvaging, and some mistakes in structure, they still can maintain relevance in the heavy music community, and this significance is not found in contrasting and bickering over Lucker or Hermida’s, but listening to a band that didn't write to anyone’s demands but their own.