Published Feb 13, 2020Three years on from the mess of an experiment their last album turned out to be, deathcore pioneers Suicide Silence are back with their sixth full-length, Become the Hunter. While they've moved away from their disastrous flirtation with uninspired nu-metal, the new record isn't a perfect show from them, but it is a return to form.
It's an unavoidable discussion that the new album feels like an apology of sorts for the massive amount of backlash they received over the direction they went with their self-titled record. The band spent a considerable amount of time trashing the deathcore scene for being uninspired, while trying to tout themselves as saviours of the genre for completely abandoning it, but now they've essentially stepped back into the exact spot they should have been. The new record feels like the logical next step after their fourth record, You Can't Stop Me, with almost zero traces of any of the elements that completely ruined them on Suicide Silence.
From the beginning, Suicide Silence fans should feel right back at home with "Two Steps" bringing the speedy, slamming chugs fans want to hear from them. Even the vocal delivery from Eddie Hermida has returned to where it was, coming back from the childish shrieks of the last album to the guttural lows and high-pitched screams that made him stand out so much from his time with All Shall Perish, as evident on songs like "Feel Alive" or "Love Me to Death."
For a fleeting moment, the band touch into some atmospheric instrumentals with a weird vocal delivery that almost reaches the pitfalls of the last album on "Skin Tight," but that goes away as quickly as it arrives almost like they're teasing listeners about the things they hated. Had they slowly introduced the croons and clean instrumentation over time, as they do here, maybe it wouldn't be so jarring, but the track is still easily the weakest thing on the album.
The record also masterfully uses guitar solos, which is something so many metal bands fail at. Instead of shoehorning in a solo for every song, they sparingly bring them in and have a great structure to each one, instead of going the Slayer route of wanking around for the sake of it. "Disaster Valley" brings in a cool solo reminiscent of Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett, while "The Scythe" breaks up the sonic assault with light instruments boosted through a simpler approach to soloing.
Not every song stands out as a hit, but even those tracks aren't bad this time around. Take "In Hiding" for example — it's pretty much by-the-numbers deathcore, but it isn't offensive on the ears anymore. They aren't hitting greatness every time, but the album's pace as a whole excuses the few blips of mediocrity.
Become the Hunter isn't a perfect record, nor is it as captivating as what other deathcore acts are doing these days, but it is a huge return to form for Suicide Silence. If you can pretend their last album never happened, it's a fantastic collection of songs and any fan of the genre will be able to find some things they like, but ultimately, it does feel like their switchback was done to save their career. (Nuclear Blast)