Death Be Very Proud
If ever there was such a genre as “pop-deathcore,” Riverside, California’s Suicide Silence have defined it. Spilling out sounds that would typically be accessible to a select audience, they have managed to break into the Billboard Top 200 with each of their last two albums, The Cleansing (2007) and No Time to Bleed (2009). There is no reason to think that their newest collection, The Black Crown, won’t enjoy the same distinction.
All the elements of proper death metal are present: screaming and growling vocals courtesy of Mitch Lucker, phrenetic blast beats by drummer Alex Lopez, dueling crunchy riffs and occasional solos by guitarists Mark Heylmun and Chris Garza. There’s even keyboards and other effects thrown in various places. What makes Suicide Silence so successful—up to and including The Black Crown—is how they use these pieces. There is an economy to their songs that encourages a familiar structure. The songs are short (averaging 3:30, your typical pop-song length), and each features distinct parts designed to hold and keep the listener’s attention.
Album opener “Slave to Substance” contains what to expect from the rest of the album. It’s no-nonsense, loud, heavy, and strangely catchy. You will be hard pressed not to sing along with “You Only Live Once” after one listen. While the predictability here is a strong suit, there are some curveballs like Lucker’s unprecedented singing in “Witness the Addiction” or the brief but complicated and lovely intro to “The Only Thing That Sets Us Apart.” If you’re new to deathcore, The Black Crown provides an excellent springboard. Expect Suicide Silence’s star to continue to shine and their fan base to continue to swell.