Suicide Silence - You Can't Stop Me - (8/10)
Published on June 16, 2014
“I’ll wear the mask if I have to;
I will inherit the crown.”
…so begins Suicide Silence’s fourth album You Can’t stop Me, and that about says it all really.
Those unfamiliar with everything that’s been going down in the Suicide Silence camp of late, following the death of the band’s original frontman Mitch Lucker, can go and read either or both of my extensive review of the resultant memorial show and/or the interview I just did with guitarist Marke Heylmun. Short story is: You Can’t Stop Me is the first Suicide Silence album since Lucker’s passing, with ex-All shall perish vocalist Eddie Hermida now at the helm, and it makes for a most triumphant return at that.
You Can’t Stop Me isn’t just another great Suicide Silence album, it also contains some of the best material the band has ever put out. Every element of the record outclasses its predecessors in (almost) everyway; the guitars are heavier and more technical; the drums more present and brutal; the bass tone is fucking huge and Hermida – who is, simply put, noticeably the better of the two vocalists1 – absolutely nails it.
Those who felt The Black Crown’s foray into nu-deathcore to be a misstep1 will be pleased at You Can’t Stop Me’s return to a “classic” deathcore sound – picking up where 2009’s cataclysmic No Time To Bleed left off. Perhaps the nu-influence departed the band along with Lucker (who constantly pointed to the likes of Slipknot and the Deftones as major influences) but either way You Can’t Stop Me draws from a far more traditional death metal sound than Suicide Silence’s other records. Everything just sounds more technical and involved, especially the guitars of Heylmun and his rhythm counterpart Chris Gaza – as if the pair spent the interim two years furiously refining their craft.
“Inherit The Crown” meets the context head on, in appropriately blunt, death metal fashion, and You Can’t stop Me itself serves the same wider purpose – valiantly meeting the challenge leveled at Suicide Silence’s reign by the momentum-gathering (and highly deserving Whitechapel) – being, for now at least, more than enough to solidify their position at the top of the deathcore pack.
As I opined back when the single was first released, “Cease To Exist” might just be the best song Suicide Silence have ever done, with its closest competition coming later on in the record in the form of the thundering “Warrior,” while “Sacred Words” – a track centered around the kind of anthemic gang chant you’d expect from the likes of The Ghost Inside – sees the band pushing into newly-explored, melodic territory.
Unfortunately, from about You Can’t Stop Me’s midpoint, the album takes a downward turn. Beginning with the title-track – the final song (fittingly) penned by Lucker – the songs loose the intensity of the earlier tracks, with many of them coming off as more standard deathcore fare, lacking the new found maturity of the records earlier moments.3 The sullen, and drawn out “Ouroboros,” which incorporates clean guitars and piano keys into the Suicide Silence sound for the first time, makes a gallant attempt at bringing things back around, but ultimately feels tacked-on, or otherwise interrupted by its precedence, and the feeble addition of The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Greg Puciato to “Monster Within” seems like a wasted opportunity.4
Of particular concern is “You Cant Stop Me” itself. I may have made a few snap judgments about some of the ways Lucker’s lyrics were portrayed in the memorial show5 but, given the tragically self-inflicted nature of Lucker’s death, the track’s sounding-off about being “reckless” seems particularly on the nose. Otherwise, the call-and-response nature of the lyrics seems rather immature and inadequate, especially when compared to the style’s masterful employment by Suicide Silence’s biggest rivals in the deathcore game, Bring Me The Horizon, who more or less have a patent on that sort of thing – the comparison becoming unavoidable come the bit about being “the diamond crusher.”6
You Can’t Stop Me’s first half set s it up to be an indisputable classic but the album’s latter half reduces it to simply another outstanding addition to Suicide Silence’s pleasantly consistent catalog – not too shabby for a band whose future looked to be in turmoil after loosing their key member less than two years ago.
1 i.e. Hermida and Lucker.
2 Your reviewer not being amongst them.
3 “Ending Is The Beginning” excused, being as it is a rerecording of a song taken from the band’s original, self-titled EP, released all the way back in 2007.
4 Cannibal Corpse’s George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher also appears on “Control.”
5 See: “Smoke” and “You Only Live Once.”
6 See: Horizon, Bring Me The, “Diamonds Aren’t Forever,” Suicide Season (London: Visible Noise, 2008), track 7.