Album Review: Suicide Silence (Mostly) Go Back to Being Suicide Silence on Become the Hunter

  • Axl Rosenberg

I’m of two minds about Suicide Silence’s new album, Become the Hunter.

On the one hand, it’s disappointing to see how easily the band has acquiesced to fan pressure following the release of 2017’s Suicide Silence. That album, although not well-received, was a creative act of bravery that was by no means the Cold Lake-level disaster some would have you believe.

On the other hand, I understand that Suicide Silence wanna have a career, and in that regard, alienating the fans with unappreciated experimentation is a bad idea. Also, Become the Hunter is pretty good, so it’s hard to complain about the band’s creative regression too much.

Purely from a “LET’S OPEN UP THIS PIT!” point of view, migraine-throbbing tracks like “In Hiding,” “Feel Alive,” and “Disaster Valley” are amongst the band’s best. Eddie Hermida is now in his fourteenth year of being one of death metal’s most impressive frontmen, lead guitarist Mark Heylmun only continues to get better with each album, and drummer Alex Lopez is absolutely on fire on this record, giving a career-best performance. This material seems clearly designed to win back fans who hated Suicide Silence, and I imagine they will do just that.

Still, it’s hard not to notice that the three most interesting songs on Become the Hunter are the ones that seem most like a continuation of the work done on Suicide Silence: “Skin Tight,” “The Scythe,” and “Serene Obscene.” They’re the most dynamic cuts on Hunter, offering peaks and valleys, mixing the doleful with the savage, and, on “Serene Obscene,” subtly utilizing what sounds like a Gregorian choir to add atmosphere. None of them are quite as “out there” (for lack of a better term) as Suicide Silence, but they clearly stand apart from the rest of Hunter. It doesn’t seem like a coincidence that these three songs are bunched together in the track list, either; consciously or not, the group must have sensed that this trio represents the album’s most artistically adventurous moments. Assuming fans don’t reject these songs the way they did most of the self-titled album, it would be cool to see Suicide Silence push even further down this avenue in the future.

Suicide Silence’s Become the Hunter becomes the hunter on Friday, February 14. You can stream the track “Feel Alive” below. The band goes on tour with Jinjer and Toothgrinder starting in April. Get dates and tickets here. Listen to our interview with guitarist Chris Garza on The MetalSucks Podcast here.

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