Review Summary: A freak experiment with no personality of its own.
Negativity and hate are contagious little fiends, and when you couple that with surprise, it spreads like wildfire. I don’t need to go into the debacle of Suicide Silence’s latest effort, because the noise surrounding this album has been overwhelming; with people shouting at the band like it’s the worst thing to happen to them since Metallica and Lou Reed’s infamous Lulu
project. Yes, the avant-garde experimentation of Metallica’s chugging riffs, supported by Lou’s horrendous lyrics and monologue droning created an album for someone with specific tastes -- this? I don’t really see what all the fuss is about.
Getting straight into the meat and potato of this LP: is it worth even a fraction of the hate it’s garnered over the last couple of months? Personally, I don’t see it. While the album is far from great, it’s hardly up there on the eccentric pedestal of experimentation with Lulu
. No, had this not been for the fact it’s Eddie Hermida’s second stab at writing with the band, and the underlining obviousness they’re a deathcore band, this would (and should) have gone largely unnoticed. Because the only thing Suicide Silence
truly offers in spades is flat, derivative ideas. The kind of album that doesn’t have the bottle to go the whole way with the ideas it wants to run with; the end result being a forgettable album that pisses its fans off and doesn’t offer enough of what it wants to do to draw in a different listener. Which brings me to the only thing that truly surprised me about this project: its producer and NU-metal legend Ross Robinson. Being known as the man to shake-up everything an artist knows, and draw out the best hidden qualities from them, he has gone on to make some truly ground-breaking and timeless albums with the likes of Korn, Deftones, Slipknot and Glassjaw. He’s even great at reinventing bands, like he did with the Cancer Bat’s exceptional Searching for Zero
, which injected a much needed energy into the band’s stagnant sound. But irony can be a cruel and funny thing, and even though Suicide Silence picked the right man for the job, something has obviously been lost during the creative process. What was supposed to be an album to reinvent the band in a grand and surprising way has turned into an average, bland record, suffering from a terrible case of plagiarisation and an inability to sit still for long.
is littered with odd ideas and constant tonal clashes, however, in various senses of the word, it’s still a heavy record. For example -- with the exclusion of the flat singing on the chorus -- “Doris” shows a decent mix of new ideas with their usual heavy flair; the track has some pretty interesting ideas, namely the spastic vocals throughout the verse and the claustrophobic vocal section at its breakdown, which adds a pretty solid dimension and satisfying conclusion to the track at hand; while “Hold Me Up, Hold Me Down" brings a familiar aesthetics to the track, as well as an odd Korn-like rhythmic bounce. The album constantly creates a lot of spacey guitar passages to try and add atmosphere, and while they’re executed in a completely unoriginal way, they certainly go in this album’s favour. However, the stuff I’ve just listed, while interesting, doesn’t nessessarily mean good. You can see the band had loads of ideas laid out, the problem is they’re either executed poorly, or are complete down-and-out rip-off sounds made from pioneers of NU-metal, post-punk and death metal decades ago. But even if we take this out of the equation, the band throw 100 ideas at the listener every 10 seconds, resulting in an incoherent mess for most of these tracks. However, as dull or irritatingly bland the album may be, there is one aspect of this album I have to feed to the wolfs: their shameless use of Deftones on this record is both embarrassingly obvious, and terribly executed. Hands down the worst track on this album isn’t because of Eddie’s terrible cleans, or any odd musical section thrown in the mix, it’s “Dying in a Red Room” for its truly dire use of Deftones formula, done in such an amateur, cringe-inducing manner; it’s easily the worst track here simply because it doesn’t hold any of the band’s own personality.
I think the bulk of this record’s experimentation -- and indeed, problems -- stem from Eddie’s vocal work; the music on this album is very forgettable and generic for the most part, but it’s Eddie’s work -- whether it’s to be commended for attempting new things, loathed or laughed at -- that becomes the focal point. Simply put, it’s very rare you feel he’s conveying himself in a natural or honest way, rather imitating the peers he admires. And a lot of the time, this is why cohesion throws itself out the window, because you can never sit comfortably with his voice: “Listen” is a pretty interesting track when you analyse it, because Eddie manages to drag in a Glassjaw post-hardcore vibe to the verse, before shifting between a Corey Taylor attitude and some pretty bad monologue style talking in the vein of King 810; couple that with the tacked on end section of the song, and you’re left with a head-scrambling amount of ideas that don’t mesh well. In fact, the whole record feels like a homage to hailed sounds, ironically from a lot of bands Ross has worked with before. Vocally songs like “Run”, “Listen” and “Zero” pop out the worst for these reasons, which is ultimately the biggest problem with Suicide Silence
Yes, this album is poor, but it’s not for their lack of trying and experimentation, more their shameless plagiarism and lack of originality that let them down. Musically average, and derivative; vocally sounding like a dude at a karaoke machine trying to sing like his favourite singers. But with all that said and done, does it condone the hate its received? Honestly, I can think of albums that have fallen a whole lot harder than this. The best thing anyone could have done with this project is let it go unnoticed.
SPECIAL EDITION: N/A