2. Two Steps
3. Feel Alive
4. Love Me To Death
5. In Hiding
6. Death's Anxiety
7. Skin Tight
8. The Scythe
9. Serene Obscene
10. Disaster Valley
11. Become The Hunter
After their almost universally panned 2017 self-titled effort, Californian Deathcore heavyweights Suicide Silence return for their sixth studio album 'Become The Hunter', which returns to their trademark sound, as opposed to the Nu Metal route they pursued for their fifth album.
This album is definitely a redemption for Suicide Silence. Before the release of 2017’s self-titled, the band had stated that a shift in sound had been ‘a long time coming’, but it was crystal clear that the album they produced was not what the fans wanted from one of the biggest names in Deathcore. I would personally have to agree; there are many bands that do straight Nu Metal well, and Suicide SIlence are, unfortunately, not one of them. However, what they can do well is brought back for 'Become The Hunter', showing that they listen to their fanbase and admit when they are wrong, which is very commendable. I’m definitely in favour of artists making the albums that they want to, but it is imperative not to alienate the fans that allowed you to get where you are.
The album begins with atmospheric instrumental track ‘Meltdown’, which sets the tone for the album to come, which is the typical darkness expected from the genre of Deathcore. This moves into the punishing track ‘Two Steps’, which is a clear statement of “Yes, we’re back” from the band. It shows the listener what’s to be expected for the rest of the album: brutal low growls and trademark high screams, breakdowns, blast beats and a whole load of dirty riffs. Guitarists Mark Heylmun and Chris Garza, bassist Dan Kenny and drummer Alex Lopez are all back to their best throughout.
There are several standout tracks on the album for me. First of all is ‘Death’s Anxiety’, an intense three minute song that showcases vocalist Eddie Hermida’s strengths, as well as the amazing technical ability of the rest of the band. The amount of stamina Lopez would need to perform the drumbeat, for instance, is breathtaking (pardon the pun). There are many in the Metal community who are very firmly against the idea of blast beats, and to that I say you clearly haven’t listened to Suicide Silence.
One song that surprised me is definitely ‘Serene Obscene’, which begins with an acoustic-sounding riff, which is then swiftly replaced with the same riff played heavier and far more aggressively. I stated previously that Suicide Silence doesn’t do straight Nu Metal well, but when they use it more as an influence or tip of the hat, as they do in ‘Serene Obscene’ they provide something spectacular. I’m almost reminded of Machine Head’s iconic track ‘Halo’ from the 2007 album The Blackening, which is certainly no bad thing in my opinion.
My one complaint about the album, however, is unfortunately Hermida’s vocals. Mitch Lucker, may he rest in peace, was perhaps one of the greatest Metal vocalists of the current generation, and his passing marked a truly sad day. There are many moments in which Hermida shows his own worth, namely the extreme lows and highs of his range, coming extremely close to the impossibly high standard his predecessor set, but it is when his vocals are in the middle of the two, in paticular at the point just before the vocal pitch reaches the insane, unmistakable heights that Lucker made synonymous with Suicide Silence where Hermida falters in my eyes. His mid-range scream is by no stretch of the imagination the worst I’ve heard, and it becomes less of an issue the more time you spend with the album, but on the first handful of listens it proves to be slightly jarring.
I’ll have to admit, I was sceptical coming into this album. I was unsure if the band would be able to recreate the sound that made them a success in the first place, but I’m very pleased to say that I was wrong. Deathcore as a genre may have seemingly decreased in popularity over the past few years compared to when Suicide Silence released their 2007 album 'The Cleansing', and the landscape of the genre has definitely changed. Many would say that newer bands such as the likes of Thy Art Is Murder and Lorna Shore are the new biggest names in the genre, but 'Become The Hunter' proves that Suicide SIlence can still hit as heavily as they did ten years ago.
Website - www.suicidesilence.net
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/suicidesilence/
Review - Gordon Rae