An album review for Suicide Silence and their attempt to go clean in their self-titled fifth studio album.
Whenever a long running band announces they are going to try something different, almost 100% of the time that band’s fanbase will become irate and complain. Change, while inevitable, can still cause stress in any situation. And with all their ups, downs, setbacks and perseverance, Suicide Silence is changing their deathcore sound and going in a bit of a new direction.
The band’s fifth full album was advertised as having many noticeable differences, mainly featuring that the self-titled album will have a majority of clean singing vocals from Eddie Hermida. Any past fan of Suicide Silence or even casual metal fans that have heard the band’s music understand that this is a vast departure from their previous work. Regardless of what critics and fans will say however, this is a project Suicide Silence are taking proudly and are completely unapologetic for. And with being unapologetic also comes a sense of pride and ambition. In the press release for the album, the band and label Nuclear Blast are describing this self-titled change-up as the next big thing.
“Like monumental self-titled sets from trailblazers like METALLICA, FLEETWOOD MAC, BLUR, and THE BEATLES, the latest album from SUICIDE SILENCE is a bold mission statement awaiting true definition by the fans. They didn’t set out to sell a billion albums or change the musical culture of the world, but their fifth record is no less ambitious and transformative for them in unbridled creativity, dense atmosphere, and groove.” –Suicide Silence Album Press Release
For any band to compare their own self-titled album to the likes of The Beatles and Metallica is beyond bold. And to back that statement off was the first released single entitled “Doris”. Ironically the first song to debut the new mostly clean singing album turns out to be arguably one of the harder if not THE hardest track on this self-title.
When I and many other listeners first heard “Doris” it was a big make or break moment for the new album. The alternating between clean and unclean vocals is apparent and doesn’t exactly mesh well with the rolling guitar riffs. It also doesn’t help that after 2 and half minutes this song almost flat lines into nothing. The constant speed changes over four minutes from loud and roaring, to an attempt at melodic over the same guitar speeds and then to a “slam on the breaks” quiet, make this song feel like a segmented mess. If they had chosen one of these three styles then MAYBE it could have worked, but as for the first single it doesn’t. And unfortunately, this is a repeating pattern for most of the tracks on this album.
I want to say that I do not think Hermida’s clean singing voice is bad. I think it could work with the right music behind him, but the way the songs are structured on this album make it either awkward or absolutely boring. The longer you listen to the album and get to tracks like “Dying In A Red Room” and “Run”, the more it feels like a chore to listen to than a metal album from a band you like.
It was when I got to “Run” and “The Zero” on my initial listen of this album that I realized there wasn’t much for me to look back on. If there is one thing I never thought I would say about Suicide Silence is that they could put me to sleep, but a song like “Run” does the job along with other tracks. This album features songs that start with a passionate and ferocious 30 second and then instantly drops down into a vapid and slow drone. I feel like I get what the band was going for in this direction to creating something more melodic and brooding. To be fair, nothing sounds particularly harsh or painful to hear when listening, but there is also nothing to really fall in love with completely. There are occasional segments in select songs, but the rest is very plain and dull. Any attempt at an atmosphere or melodic sequence just feels lifeless. It’s a great example of a mediocre delivery where a majority of the performances sound like they sat around and just went through the motions in recording.
I don’t mind when a band tries something different but the end result should make you glad you heard a different side of a group instead of feeling like you wasted your time. When each song starts out on fire and then crawls along for three minutes at the speed of a tectonic plate, you are bound to get tired of listening to the silence, no pun intended. Overall, while at no point does anything in this album sound truly awful, nothing really stands out as good either. Suicide Silence’s attempt at a clean and melodic change in direction may turn away longtime fans and not earn many new listeners in the process. The band definitely has talent, but this self-title is undoubtedly not along the ranks of self-titles from Metallica and The Beatles.