Suicide Silence – Become The Hunter (album)

Release date: 14th February 2019 || Genre: Death metal|| Label: Nuclear Blast

Scales Of Justice: Guest Reviewer Drew Cochrane

Suicide Silence return with their new album, Become The Hunter, the follow-up to their critically lambasted, 2017 self titled effort. As someone who was never a massive fan of the band, but does enjoy the odd track here and there, I approached this record with an open mind, interested to see how the band have chosen to respond to the backlash of the last record.

The album opens with instrumental track Meltdown, which sounds like it’s building up to something which never quite materialises. One of the first things which became apparent upon listening is that the band have adopted a fairly raw, gritty production style, something which is uncommon amongst their deathcore peers, and not something I particularly enjoy, especially with music that has so much going on in it. That’s not to say the record isn’t well mixed. It is, but as a guitarist I find myself being particularly choosy over guitar tones, and this just isn’t one that agrees with me.

Moving on, the first proper track Two Steps opens up the album for real, with a mixture of upbeat, thrashier sections, and of course, a tonne of breakdowns. For me, this would have made much more sense as an album opener, forgoing the meandering of the previous track. Feel Alive brings in a lot more technical guitar work, but it’s here that the production really becomes a hindrance to the record for me – it feels like there’s a lot going on, but it’s very difficult to pick out exactly what any of that is, which is a shame. The same sentiment can be applied to Love Me To Death. Opening with a wall of blastbeats, and coming out of that section, straight into a breakdown, this is the first song I’m really feeling musically on the record, but I’d enjoy it a lot more with a bigger drum sound, and more precise, defined guitars.

The album generally continues much in the same vein, with a lot of chunky breakdowns, guttural vocals and the occasional blast beat, until Skin Tight which brings in spacey, clean guitars, peppered with breakdowns between. It’s a welcome change, and makes for a bit of respite, and brings in some dynamics to what was at risk of becoming overly repetitive. Building on this, The Scythe opens with an interesting guitar melody line, with drums building underneath, and eventually a second guitar joining in too. This is more like it. Interesting, inspired and different – exactly what I want from a deathcore album. This song progresses to include some of the most extreme elements on the album – certainly the fastest footwork from drummer, Alex Lopez – then segues into a melodic middle passage, again bringing in the spacey clean guitars, but this time with a meandering solo. This really is a standout track, on an album of songs which, for the most part sound the same, a real breath of fresh air.
A lot of bands make the mistake of front-loading the strongest material from the album to occupy the first half of the disk, though here, somewhat strangely, this album seems to have done the opposite, and saved the most enjoyable tracks for the the end of the record; Serene Obscene providing inspired, progressive clean sections interspersed with savage breakdowns, Disaster Valley being by far the fastest, and most aggressive song on the record overall, with more than a small nod towards traditional death metal. Closing with the title track, Become The Hunter there’s nothing new on offer here, however, it’s a solid track encompassing a little of everything that’s come before on the record in a clean, concise way.

Overall, a solid release and enjoyable enough, though I’m not sure I’d find myself coming back to it frequently. Aided by a slightly better guitar sound, and perhaps a re-ordering of the tracks, I’d have enjoyed this album more, but as it stands, it’s an enjoyable if not particularly memorable release.

Grade: B

Drew Cochrane is a 30 year old musician and promoter from Dundee, passionate about all the good things in life – heavy metal, fast cars and cute animals. His pet hates include bad guitar tone, bad guitar tone, and bad guitar tone.

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