Make Them Suffer
How to Survive a Funeral


2.5
average

Review

by Rivers of Naaiers USER (15 Reviews)
August 29th, 2020 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Maybe I should’ve spent my last 10 bucks of Corona relief on Misery Signals or Xibalba.

I really want to love this Make Them Suffer release. The band plays into that symphonic, post-2008, meat and potatoes metalcore sound so well it’s hard not to love them. Yet, the band seems to be losing their sharpness in the face of a scene that seeks to reject theatrics and return to its roots. While How to Survive a Funeral has a lot to offer old fans, whether it means the band will keep them is a debate between those who rely on liveshows to reinforce their interest in a band.

Neverbloom (2012) was a great record, showcasing a heap of melodic, catchy riffs and chunky production, while their sophomore Old Souls (2014) was a fantastic attempt to break away from their blackened-deathcore roots and add more heart to their songs, including elements of melodic hardcore to broaden themes and tell stories. It was a wonderful time for the band with two different yet interesting albums offering healthy doses of blast beats and surface-level nihilism. But come 2017’s Worlds Apart, one began to hear their constant reliance on Sean Harmanis’ vocals and the craving for broader appeal, as singles like “Ether” and “Fireworks” plagued your Youtube algorithm. Rocky, droning riffs, a slower pace, colourful emotionality and over-processed choruses became entrenched in their sound, and continues to risk alienating their fans by doing something contrary to a supposedly winning formula.

Now it is the dreadful year of 2020 and the band has carefully stitched How to Survive a Funeral to sound like an album that caters to the assumptions of what fans want. Long-time listeners will run to this album. I sure did after hearing “Erase Me”. It had all the hallmarks of Old Souls’ appeal. I even curiously selected “That’s Just Life” upon downloading the pre-order and grew truly excited for the album as rapid guitar melodies cut like box-cutters through puff-pastry. The album appeared to offer so much. Yet, the heart and urgency of its first impressions were merely a fan’s eager reflexes at a dull reanimation of Old Souls’ anger and Neverbloom’s variety.

The opener, “Step One”, could have easily been a track off Attila’s Chaos (2016), and was clearly written for live audiences. Straight off the bat the album is packaged and written to pre-sell tickets to a show that doesn’t exist. From there, the entire album is the band’s sound flattened, with shining moments only coming across in smart-guy riffs and layered atmosphere. Take “Falling Ashes”. The song goes off like a construction site on cocaine and then immediately pulls back the frenzy. It is meaningless aggression that takes the best elements hardcore, black metal and metalcore, and throws it back at the listener purposelessly, only to get distracted at random intervals in sons. Despite it being a fun sound, it is the same ol’ trick they played in Old Souls. Listeners are constantly thrown out suspense, as the melody or dissonance of McLernon’s guitars are destroyed by prescribed breakdowns, forced choruses and static screaming patterns. All these sudden changes are so jarring that How to Survive a Funeral constantly tests its listener’s patience by not deciding what it wants to be. Subsequently, this album is a mutant concoction of pretty chords, yelps of self-loathing and the kvlt credentials of Neverbloom. And everything in-between sees a weird blend of mediocre metalcore, breakdowns and major-chord choruses. Tracks like “Fake Your Own Death” try to reuse parts of old favourites (see “Blood Moon” and “Elegy”) but fail to come across as anything more than a better Emmure song off Eternal Enemies. And even in scattered two-step moments, tough-guy feels, and super tight drumming, the erratic jumps in tone and speed make it difficult to follow the overall purpose of this release. This issue is most clear when the band yanks the handbrake to release their inner-Sempiternal on “The Attendant”, where lines like “you’d stay away if you know what’s best” come across as a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Yet, there are redeeming moments. For a start, “Bones” is a sign that the band can effectively blend their strengths to make fun and authentic musical experiences. It starts off with a fun and slow triplet groove, building enough tension for Harmanis’ incredible chorus to provide some real, emotional catharsis. It is an addictive song, that oozes heart and conviction yet with enough ‘commercial’ appeal to bring in new listeners. And the final track on the album is probably one of Make Them Suffer’s most reinventive moments as a band, as Harmanis’ takes to the background to allow the rest of the band to shine.

To me, this album is a betrayal of the pain the band so desperately tries to bring across to us. We are constantly disappointed by powerful openers being neutered with the same breakdown and overproduced piano/singer chorus, again and again, culminating into a mere collection of fun yet forgettable songs. I love this album superficially, but Make Them Suffer wants something more. Unfortunately, they lean into no specific theme or discussion, just angry, heart-broken and hollow music because that is supposedly what we want from them. Even Booka Nile’s soothing vocals awkwardly contrast in choruses and were difficult to endure, especially on tracks like “Drown With Me” and “How to Survive a Funeral”. If not for Harmanis’ persistent and convincing anger providing some contrast, her presence on the album would be at best sufficient.

Buy this album if you need to rehearse crowd-killing for a festival visit where the booze is cheap, merch is 100% cotton and the sound guy hates the front-row, or if you don’t mind purchasing several interpretations of Old Souls’ greatest moments. For me, I feel let down. Maybe I should’ve spent my last 10 bucks of Corona relief on Misery Signals or Xibalba.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
TheCakeIsALie
August 29th 2020


55 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I hope I didn't botch this review. I love this band, just wish I could've gotten some of that meat and starch out of the album.



At least it's on Bandcamp...

costofnothing
August 29th 2020


155 Comments


Good review. I feel like the production is soooo overpolished on this thing.

Durrzo
August 30th 2020


2553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

The more I listened to this album the less I liked it. Hugely disappointing release in pretty much every way. They just keep moving away from what they were good at and what made them stand out in the first place. This is some genericore bullshit and at this point Sean's vocals are the only thing worth noting. Idk how you can write an album like Old Souls and then think that this is an evolution of your ability.

TheCakeIsALie
August 30th 2020


55 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Agreed! And our expectations were not that high. It seems that since their move to Rise, they've tried to become more 'accessible' instead of interesting or provocative.

BallsToTheWall
August 31st 2020


50690 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Love this record.

Digging: Kim Petras - Clarity

TheCakeIsALie
August 31st 2020


55 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Glad to hear it.



I personally prefer Old Souls, but can understand why fans would like it.

MrGlass
August 31st 2020


486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review, and I completely agree that is the most generic form of MTS to date. In a recent AMA, their guitarist Nick mentioned that Old Souls is actually his least favorite album of theirs, which is interesting to note. I personally think Worlds Apart was the best version of their sound. This one has some good songs, for sure, but it also feels sort of interchangeable with a lot of other modern metalcore and the choruses are hit and miss. Don't have high hopes for their creative trajectory, but I'll always keep tabs on 'em and really hope to catch them live someday.

Digging: Fit for an Autopsy - Oh What the Future Holds

Durrzo
August 31st 2020


2553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"In a recent AMA, their guitarist Nick mentioned that Old Souls is actually his least favorite album of theirs"

Oh. Well I guess I don't need to get my hopes up next time they start releasing material. I went hunting for the comment and found it. His list is: This > Worlds Apart > Neverbloom > Old Souls. Dude that's literally my list but backwards. God dammit.

JohnFire
November 11th 2020


743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Was sceptic, but this is actually so fun

JohnFire
January 20th 2021


743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Still fun btw

Durrzo
January 20th 2021


2553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

NAY.

theoleinnout
February 23rd 2021


116 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Bones is easily one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard. They need to replace their guitarists asap.

Durrzo
February 23rd 2021


2553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Nick is their primary songwriter, he's not going anywhere. I do think that he's writing some really uninspired shit at this point though, new blood or at least some more input from more members would be nice.

Muzz79
February 25th 2021


1528 Comments


Check that out, Booka is on Australia’s Married at First Sight series

Digging: Fit for an Autopsy - Oh What the Future Holds

GarlicIV
January 18th 2022


8 Comments


Im not a writer but this seems like an amazing review to me



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