Review: “Become The Hunter” by Suicide Silence

Riverside Californian Deathcore titans Suicide Silence have been busy since their 2017 self titled album. A record that divided fans with its KoRn and Deftones inspirations produced by Ross Robinson, it saw vinyl copies ritualistically burned and left guitarists Chris Garza and Mark Heylmun, drummer Alex Lopez, bassist Dan Kenny and vocalist Hernan “Eddie” Hermida in danger of throwing away all that they had worked for. The path to redemption in the eyes of their fan base began with a 10 Year Anniversary Tour for their 2007 debut “The Cleansing” and saw them throw out a charity live album and rarities effort. So now it’s time for album number six, preceded by the opening quartet of tracks that gave us the impression that the band have reversed out the self titled albums style shift and returned to their Deathcore roots. Having producer Steve Evetts (Sepultura, Dillinger Escape Plan) who was at the helm for the bands much loved pair of albums “The Black Crown” in 2011 and “You Can’t Stop Me” in 2014 is back, Mixing by Josh Wilbur (Lamb of GodGojira) and Mastering by Ted Jensen (Of Mice & MenThe Devil Wears Prada) is a mouth watering prospect.

Taking the step of giving us four new songs way in advance of the album was an interesting move from Nuclear Blast but a wise one. Reassuring older fans of what the new album would be like and securing some pre-orders with that safety net. “Meltdown” is your archtypal introduction piece with its sinister brooding over tones and brutal riffs and may well end up being either a live opening track or a mid set piece of blood and thunder to allow Hermida the chance to have a beer. First song proper is “Two Steps” which is your essential piece of Deathcore work. An addictive rhythmic groove from the guitars and Lopez backing if off with some more involved kit work and big crash cymbal hits is food for all those who said Suicide Silence were done. Hermida’s vocal performance is strong, blending up the styles between lines and sounding off kilter and unhinged without any cleans at all. “Feel Alive” or to give it the full line “I need to kill to feel alive” continues to lyrical theme with further rantings while the second Death Metal inspired solo of the album is a blistering reminder of the bands prowess. They’re no longer reliant on the staples of Deathcore and have expanded their sound. Indeed the album as a feeling of freedom to it like the band are playing live in a room together and chuckling to themselves as they jam. That’s more evident on “Love Me to Death” which chugs and along at a decent tempo and while Hermida’s higher pitched resonance on the title line rings out, you can’t help but smile at the quality and sense of fun in this material.

Those higher pitched tones continue into “In Hiding” as Hermida screams up a lung and showcases his range by breaking it up with some Deathcore growls, but doesn’t dive into the pig squeal moment that the track cries out for. Lopez delivers in the footwork department and this one could well end up being a live favourite. “Death’s Anxiety” is a Deathcore staple from.start to finish, chugging along with a mid tempo drive that is Mosh friendly while having a couple of choice shift moments in it including a bass bleed through from Kenny in fine style. “Skin Tight” is the jack in the box with a Jekyll and Hyde sound as it bursts from unhinged dark atmospheres that the band tried to create on their self titled album into their core sound for the chorus. There is no clean vocal foray and the sinister lyrics that center around “I want to wear all of your skin” is downright evil and great fun. It’s broadside chugs are vicious and if this wound up on a Horror film soundtrack it would be no surprise. The opening of “The Scythe” absolutely rips with a technical tapping lead into some downtuned powerhouse breakdown riffs that break for a moment of that atmospheric that the previous track was built on. The track has similarities to material from the new Fit For An Autopsy record “The Sea Of Tragic Beasts” and that bodes well for the future of this band.

If Suicide Silence were going to slip up then it was always going to be in the final trio of cuts but fortunately that simply doesn’t happen. The Asian inspired acoustic guitars of “Serene Obscene” might have threatened something melodic but they’re soon swept away an a crushing crescendo of drums and stuccato downtuned riffs that bludgeon in pummeled style. Hermida may get a dark spoken word moment but the the track is a black hole of a titanic killer. “Disaster Valley” sounds raw and pulverising with galloping Blast Beats and some Black Metal inspirations including a face melting solo that is nothing short of electrifying. Sinister haunting vibes in the background add weight and gravity while the sonic crush of wave after wave so breakdown riffs is first class. Closing on the album title track sees “Become The Hunter” go full circle with a killer cut that is a fine summary song of all the elements showcased on the album. The Thrash inspired solo is a moment while Garza and Heylmun go toe to toe against some demonic uncleans from Hermida, including a circle the drain gravelly roar. Whether this is enough to convince the old school fans to come back remains to be seen but it’s a phenomenal album that delivers in every possible way [8.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Meltdown
  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

Become The Hunter” by Suicide Silence is out now via Nuclear Blast

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