Suicide Silence – Become the Hunter Review

Suicide Silence - Become the Hunter 01If you’re familiar with the deathcore scene of the mid-2000s, then Suicide Silence really needs no introduction. For a band considered -core elite among Hot Topic frequenters everywhere, they have had a roller coaster of a career. The pummeling chugfests of The Cleansing or No Time to Bleed, the step in the right direction of The Black Crown, Mitch Lucker’s sudden and tragic passing, the snoozefest of You Can’t Stop Me with All Shall Perish vocalist Eddie Hermida, all lead up to the controversial self-titled album and its much-maligned single “Doris.” Off-key clean vocals aside, it was a sloppy offering, trying to introduce nu-metal when it wasn’t suited, and the internet made it known. Now we have Become the Hunter, a self-proclaimed “return to roots” album, hoping to dish out more brutality and completely forget the horror of 2017’s ill-advised attempt. Will it set them on the right track or will it be a new low on the loop-de-loop of Suicide Silence?

To be fair, Suicide Silence has been divisive since their inception, offering a chug-heavy style of deathcore popularized by Chelsea Grin and Count Your Blessings-era Bring Me the Horizon, versus the sinister offerings of Whitechapel and Carnifex1. Here we are fifteen years later, so a “return to roots” album’s audience consists of The Cleansing and No Time to Bleed worshipers. As a result, Eddie Hermida is doing his damnedest to sound like Mitch Lucker and thick-as-molasses chugs dominate the sound. While more death metal tricks like blastbeats and technical solos are utilized, Become the Hunter is still, ya know, Suicide Silence doing Suicide Silence. And while it may be the best album since The Black Crown, that’s not really saying much.

The best tracks on Become the Hunter are sure to meet mixed reaction, as they are either the “daring” new tracks that implement new tricks like consistent blastbeats and solos, or the tracks paying homage to the No Time to Bleed style, which itself wasn’t particularly well-received. Hell, “Two Steps” sounds identical to “Wake Up” in its frantic vocals over menacing chugs. The brutal breakdowns are back, curb-stomping your concussed brain in effective tracks like “In Hiding” and “The Scythe” balanced by moody plucking, whereas the shredding solos and patient deathy blastbeats of “Love Me to Death” and “Disaster Valley” are relatively new seasonings in the Suicide Silence spice cabinet that add some flavor to an otherwise bland sonic dish. Otherwise, “Skin Tight” channels recent Fit for an Autopsy tricks in ominous atmospheric plucking beneath distant vocals, while “Serene Obscene” opens with Middle Eastern folky plucking and dissonant chugs a la The HAARP Machine. While these tricks pale to frankly better acts, at least they show attempts at mixing things up a bit.

Suicide Silence - Become the Hunter 02

Unfortunately, while Hermida does his best, the instrumentals indicate that Become the Hunter was a doomed album from the start. Because of the mixed quality of their catalog, Suicide Silence is stuck between a rock (their roots) and a hard place (progression). Its nostalgic chugs can’t commit to the downtempo deathcore of Black Tongue or Traitors, but they remain too lethargic to be worthwhile. Meanwhile, death metal elements are used very sparingly, adding flourish but not impactful enough to compensate for limp songwriting. Tracks like “Two Steps,” “Feel Alive,” and the title track are virtually identical in their chug rhythms, and feel horribly bland in their execution, while the hints of progression feel halfhearted when considered as a whole. The album lacks dynamics, as the title track ends just as how useless intro “Meltdown” began–chugging without purpose.

Suicide Silence is back and better than ever last time. While Become the Hunter is the best album since the Mitch Lucker era, that’s not saying much about its quality, even if its second act is better than its first. While “Love Me to Death,” “Disaster Valley,” and “The Scythe” are solid deathcore tracks and scattered flourishes are well-intended if not short-lived, that’s about as good as it gets here. If you’re missing the days of deathcore moshin’, Etnies wearin’, pants saggin’, hair flippin’, and screaming “THIS IS EXIIIIILE” at your parents, you may love this “return to roots” album. But if you’re like me, these deathcore stalwarts only offer bland riffs, cringey lyrics, and tasteless breakdowns, all for an excessive runtime of forty minutes. And it’s business as usual. While the band’s circumstances have definitely been a roller coaster, Suicide Silence’s sound feels more like a broken-down car stuck on the side of the road.

Rating: 1.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Releases Worldwide: February 14th, 2020

Show 1 footnote

  1. Who have progressed in nice ways since.
« »