After much discussion, and even an online petition, Suicide Silence’s much-talked about eponymous effort is finally here. Based on singles ‘Doris’ and ‘Silence’, you’ll know that this isn’t your father’s Suicide Silence album. What is abundantly clear is that, from an artistic perspective, putting out “another deathcore record” would have been disingenuous for Suicide Silence. This is a band playing from the heart, taking risks, and embracing the early nu-metal influences so often cited by Mitch Lucker before his death. If nothing else, this is to be commended and encouraged.
Does that mean this is a good record? Not necessarily, and it’s not because of the drastic change in sound. All too often, it lives and dies on what can only be surmised as the influence of producer Ross Robison; Suicide Silence has plenty of vibe, but a serious lack of quality control. Best encapsulating this is ‘The Zero’, which sports strong, melodic hooks and plenty of red raw emotion from Eddie Hermida. However, it suffers with too much jam room gumpf, a lot of which could be easily expelled without losing the in-the-moment feel that Robinson is renowned for encouraging.
Although this excess could easily be remedied, some moments on this album are just plain bad: ‘Doris’’ chorus being the most obvious example, while elsewhere, the dirgey ‘Hold Me Up Hold Me Down’ is a tedious mess.
This is not to say that SS don’t occasionally show some promise here. Unhindered by the ropey production, doleful ballad ‘Conformity’ is a definite highlight, while the turn of pace on ‘Listen’ show that the band’s trademark sound makes for an interesting counterpoint to their new direction.
Despite being buried under a thick layer of chaff, Suicide Silence have enough good ideas to make this a worthwhile experiment, but beyond the potential displayed, this is unlikely to excite existing fans or entice new ones. Better luck next time, guys.
‘Suicide Silence’ by Suicide Silence is released on 24th February on Nuclear Blast.
Words by Josh Graham (@jollyboyjosh_)