Review Summary: Barely climbing out of disaster valley.
It's no secret that Suicide Silence
's glory days have long since passed. Ever since Mitch Lucker's death eight years ago, the band has been all but struggling to make ends meet—You Can't Stop Me
was just another Suicide Silence record without any of the charm Lucker brought to the table, the self-titled took whatever hopes anyone had with Eddie Hermida in the driver's seat and squashed it into the 27th layer of hell itself, and the Weinstein effect punching Hermida right in the dick helped about as much as torching a bag of dinosaur s**t inside of a sacred religious temple. So in order to gain any semblance of musical respect back, Suicide Silence have decided to Become the Hunter
, and while it's leagues ahead of the self-titled it still amounts to nothing more than a serviceable deathcore release.
First things first, Become the Hunter
has completely done away with the clean vocals abundant on the self-titled—everything Hermida does is either a ferocious scream, a menacing growl, or a dry "Oli Sykes screws Frankie Palmeri" yell. Vocal damage caused by bad technique is starting to seep through the studio effects, though they do a good job covering it up most of the time—the yelling is where they fail to keep it obvious, and unfortunately Hermida simply yells multiple times throughout the record to the point where you're begging him to get back to growling or shut up. Lyrically, the album takes the concepts straight from Ice Nine Kills' playbook; the band tried to base every song on the album off of either a real or fictional serial killer (bar opening instrumental "Meltdown" as well as "In Hiding" and "Serene Obscene"); unfortunately they don't do much with the concept, and consequently the lyrics are more or less your standard "i'm going to rip your intestines out and sell your soul to a demonic prostitute" trite done millions of times already.
Instrumentally, it sounds like somewhat of a cross between the Mitch-era albums and the self-titled with some ambient mixed in, but with the nu metal influence of the self-titled used solely as undertones, with the deathcore/metalcore/ambient influence taking center stage. The ambient influence is where all traces of instrumental experimentation end; guitarists Chris Garza and Mark Heylmun and drummer Alex Lopez are still doing what they've more or less done for the past 13 years, while any trace of bassist Dan Kenny is, as usual, nowhere to be found. It ends up making the instrumental work more of a slightly more ambient You Can't Stop Me
—which isn't necessarily bad
, per se, but it does get old after 45 minutes. Production-wise, it's just like every other deathcore band; Eddie, Chris and Mark are the main focuses here—Alex gets time to shine, but Dan is, like I said before, left in the dark.
Become the Hunter
is more or less an album of damage control after all the turmoil that went on during the self-titled's album cycle. It isn't a groundbreaking album, and it certainly doesn't hold a candle to their earlier work, but nor is it the mind-boggling s**t-fest that is the self-titled. For what it's worth, it's a fine album if you're looking for substance-less, face-melting heavy deathcore, and it certainly does do a good job at bandaging some of the wounds inflicted by the self-titled. Suicide Silence has effectively raised their sunken ship just enough to keep on sailing, and it's in much better shape than we thought it would be.