Review Summary: One step forward is two steps back, with the incorporation of more streamlined metalcore sections let down by the band's trademark breakdowns and some abysmal lyrics
Suicide Silence are a band that can be summed up in two words : "consistently average". It is almost impressive at how generic this band have been throughout their career, with the occasional solid song rearing its head above the mire of blandness. The one album that the band have released with more than one or two redeeming songs is 2011's The Black Crown, the final record they crafted prior to the untimely demise of frontman Mitch Lucker. In partially shedding their deathcore skin, the band's third effort is one with at least more than one monotonous sound, and therefore is worthy of a little discussion.
Opening track Slaves To Substance showcases the shift towards a more groove-oriented metalcore sound, whilst still remaining both embellished and trapped by their deathcore roots. Whilst this heavier edge provides some variety when mixed in with the newer sound, there is no denying that the repeated chugging breakdowns throughout this record do little to inspire confidence that the band has taken any significant steps forward. Second track O.C.D is an excellent example of this, with the tremolo picked riffs and one or two infectious riffs unfortunately sold down the river by the montonous chugs of the chorus. This dichotomy of the enjoyable and the insipid is present throughout all of this album, and prevents the band from claiming any real credit.
You Only Live Once and *** Everything are two fan favorites, and the former is definitely one of the better tracks here. Opening with a scratchy riff and a spoken word declaration of "push your care, push your burdens aside", it then roars into life with a mid-tempo riff that will at least get the neck thrashing. Coupled with Mitch Lucker's (admittedly) excellent shrieks and growls, this is a fantastic build up, with only the lyrics really letting it down (seriously, a twelve year-old could have written better). The slight increase in tempo before it drops back to the mid-tempo riff (coupled with the repeated roars of "live life hard") is again well honed, and cuts like a knife. Unfortunately, this is Suicide Silence, and they couldn't resist throwing in an atrocious breakdown before the guitar solo.
To tell the truth, there is little else to say about the sound of this record. Most songs here have at least one decent riff, but they are let down by the generic chugging breakdowns and some dreadful lyricism. The guest appearances of Suffocation's Frank Mullen, Korn's vocalist, and Alexia Rodriguez add a little to the song's upon which they feature, with the first of the trio perhaps feeling the most at home here. Cancerous Skies is a solid enough outro to the album, opening in particularly brutal fashion, and Cross-Eyed Catastrophe is at least improved by some slightly more intricate guitar moments, but overall this record is one I would struggle to recommend for anything more than one solitary listen. The decent moments are actually solid, and definitely the highlights of this band's career, but the majority of the album is just too stale.