Artist: Suicide Silence
Album: The Black Crown
Label: Century Media
Though I try to not make a habit of harping on the scarlet letter of metal sub-genres in the last handful of years, sometimes it makes itself all-too-relevant and simply can’t be avoided. Suicide Silence’s latest release The Black Crown is one of those times, but perhaps not for all the reasons you may expect, and maybe some you didn’t expect. While it’s certainly true that Suicide Silence, at times, are pretty run-of-the-mill, they’ve tried awfully hard to break free of that box–usually unsuccessfully.
After a whole bunch of listens, there’s really only one word that adequately sums up The Black Crown: dull. Listen after listen it becomes less and less interesting. Even given the fantastic mixing, Mitch Lucker’s very distinctive voice, and a few attempts at guitar wankery, the album still falls far short of an interesting and attention-grabbing release. Song after song, it’s routine riff followed by ordinary chorus, followed by bland (sometimes horrid) lyrics. Most of the riffs just feel like recycled B-sides from the already tired No Time To Bleed and the few deviations from that sound add little to the mix.
One of the few musically interesting parts of the entire album happens to come on one of its worst songs in “Fuck Everything” when Mitch Lucker almost stops belting incomprehensible and awful lyrics long enough for a cool bass groove under some cool guitar work to happen. Unfortunately, Mitch doesn’t hesitate to force his way back into the song with his atrocious lyrics once you catch a glimpse of said groove, ruining an otherwise pleasant moment on the album.
As mentioned above, the one redeeming quality of this album is its sound. The guitars a feature just the right amount of crunch, Mitch’s vocals are well mixed (especially when there are overdubs and timbre changes), and the drums sound phenomenal compared to Suicide Silence’s colleagues. Overall the sound is a slight notch ahead of most deathcore bands, but is still too similar to them to be considered truly special amongst the metal world.
Strangely enough, the album’s best track (“Witness The Addiction”) features guest vocals from a man in a dead scene that might soon share an incredible amount of similarities to deathcore: Jonathan Davis (of Korn fame). They unleash the best riff on the album in the opening part of the song alongside a rather intense build and an extraordinary chorus (lyrics aside), and Jonathan Davis’ part is, well, very distinctively a Jonathan Davis part and actually fills a very cool role in the song and album (given Korn’s recent lack of success, this seems more like a miracle than anything).
The Black Crown really feels like the crappy deathcore cousin of Slipknot’s Iowa, as they’re pretty similar musically and touch on many of the same themes (and even feature equally atrocious lyrics). The Black Crown is a tight performance that sounds pretty excellent, but really lacks interesting musical ideas with any real depth. As the saying goes, you can polish a turd all you want but in the end it’s just that: a turd. Mid-tempo riffs, overused breakdowns, and Mitch Lucker’s blurted vocals can only take you so far outside of a live setting–and it’s not that far. At least it will be fun live (if you can avoid people picking up pennies in the pit).
Overall Score: 4/10
Review written by: Jordan Munson