It’s probably not fishing in a hyperbolic pond to suggest that Suicide Silence, since their inception way back in 2002, have undergone what could best be described as a number of anus horribilis in recent times. But let me cleave a path through the bong smoke and recap. It would be fair to say that with their debut album ‘The Cleansing’ back in 2007, Suicide Silence have probably had more than a bit part to play in developing the nascent deathcore scene. All grumbling, sledgehammer riffs, grindcore styled blast beats and screamed vocals coupled with some lovely haircuts, ridiculously over the top lyrics and provocative merchandise. It would also be fair to say that they also had an absolute superstar on vocals in the form of frontman Mitch Lucker, who despite his relative youth, had some set of pipes on him, switching from high end screamo to low growls that belied his age. Having seen them on tour back in the day, coupled with a stormer of a debut album, the future looked rosy for the Californian’s as they embarked on tours of all four corners of the globe, playing with a myriad of different bands, in different genres swapping the Mayhem touring festival for the Warped Tour and back to treks with Machine Head, Trivium and Parkway Drive.
Then tragedy struck on November 1st 2012, when Lucker was killed in a motorbike accident in Orange County and Suicide Silence looked over. But no, resurrected like the proverbial phoenix from the flames, the remaining band members recruited All Shall Perish singer Hernan “Eddie” Hermida and set about taking the huge swell of public and fan support and truckload of good will towards the band and poured it into new material which materialised in the form of 2015’s ‘You Can’t Stop Me’ which continued in the same vein, serving up brutal vignettes of metalcore/deathcore with brooding guitars and guttural offerings from new boy Hermida. So far, so good and then came their self-titled 2017 release which represented a marked departure from their previously output, most notably on single ‘Doris’ which saw the bands fanbase scathing in its reaction to what was seen as a calculated move into the mainstream with its clean and decidedly ‘pop’ orientated vocals. It must be said that although that album has its moments, it’s mostly a little bit shit. Whilst I do try to avoid a dog pile (please forgive my desperate attempts into online youth parlance), I can only add to the Cruft sized pile on that that album mostly deserves.
So back the SS boys come in 2020, with a reinvigorated collection of songs and a regression (in a good way) to what they do best and that’s grinding out precision missile strikes of balls to the walls, metal air strikes, that detonate with an aural ferocity that will go a long way to banish the memories of their previous album and will go down a storm with fans both old and new. There’s nothing you haven’t heard before on here, it does speed by in a blur of brutal down tuned riffs and speed balling double bass drums and largely the vocals growl, bark and scream. The vocals also feature some deliciously double tracked vocal moments that don’t sound too far away from Glen Benton’s demonic howls on Deicide’s bat shit mental, self-titled debut effort. That’s not to say I am drawing comparisons with Deicide here, no, it just sounds roughly in the same vocal ballpark. There is much to enjoy on ‘Become The Hunter’, it’s a well-crafted collection of songs and there’s a breakdown section on the title track which is blooming marvellous. It all slows down and grinds your ears into a sticky pink paste which will set the wind millers and kickboxing buffoons in the pit aflame.
So whilst this doesn’t exactly re-invent the wheel, the band (sensibly) have listed to the vitriolic hurricane of criticism and scorn poured upon their last album, and decided to revert to type and push out an album that will appease all but their most demanding (and precious) fans. I can’t say that I would rush back to this album immediately for a second listen, but it’s competent, heavy, well produced and does what it says on the tin.
(7/10 Nick Griffiths)