From the inception of what would be defined as "heavy metal" and the subsequent strains of what has become the most vital and visceral brand of music on the planet, there have been innovators who have moved things forward with urgent and confident persuasion. Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, The Big 4 (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax), Morbid Angel, Meshuggah, Emperor, Cannibal Corpse et al -- They are the type of driven alchemists who weren't satisfied with regurgitating the status quo.
With furious determination and relentless intolerance for mediocrity, Suicide Silence has arisen as one such band. In point of fact, as a new wave of heavy metal led by a fresh group of elite artists with specific sounds has awakened in America, Suicide Silence has earned the title as nothing less than the defining modern death metal band for a new generation.
The sound that thunder and lightning makes is very specific to that natural event. Similarly, the abrasive yet award-winning subcultural powerhouse known as Suicide Silence has undeniably claimed the sound they've put forth with their newest effort, The Black Crown.
"No imitators, no second guessing. I want it to be known," declares vocalist Mitch Lucker. "It's the same thing as when you pop in a Korn, Deftones, or Slipknot CD: you know that stamp is there."
Suicide Silence has that stamp, that signature. They've reached for the crown, seized it and placed it firmly atop their heads as a dominating force with worldwide reach across their prior albums and EPs. They've earned two consecutive Revolver Golden Gods Awards, for Most Innovative Band and Best New Band; conquered the stage on Rockstar Mayhem, Warped Tour, Music As A Weapon; graced magazine covers; and watched their logo spread across small towns and big cities around the globe as it's worn proudly like a national flag by their supporters.
Suicide Silence has set out to demolish their well-received previous efforts, the genre-defining The Cleansing (2007) and billboard rising No Time to Bleed (2009), with their raw, devastating and unstoppably aggressive new album. Lucker's blend of devastating growls and ear-piercing, black metal shrieks have hit an apex on The Black Crown and similarly, guitarists Mark Heylmun and Chris Garza have stepped up their game with carefully crafted, groove-laden riffs that will infect the minds of casual listeners. Drummer Alex Lopez has proven himself amongst the top in the genre, locking in on all cylinders with bassist Dan Kenny.
"The Black Crown is us at our finest," Lucker states. "We learned while touring on the last two records, the parts we play live that make people go the most insane; when we see thousands of people ripping each others’ faces off to and just destroying each other. We took the most aggressive elements of the last two records and just compiled them all into pure brutality this time around.”
There is no room to breathe on The Black Crown. And that was by design.
"This record just attacks, attacks, attacks," Lucker says proudly. "You’re jumping up and down, or you’re smashing something, or you’re stomping something. It’s simply unrelenting."
The band's sound is the product of extreme focus on the magic of five guys getting in a room with no pretensions, no computerized copouts and an agreement to keep the riffs that move them in the moment. "If we wrote it and I can bang my head to it, that’s it, end of sentence," Lucker explains. "A lot of bands go out of their way to over-critique or over-develop their music to the point where it becomes drained of substance and simply feels like more of the same.”
Suicide Silence spent a month snowed in at a cabin in the semi-remote town of Big Bear, California as they pushed themselves to deliver their strongest material to date. They knew this was to be a career-defining album so they seized the moment with their eyes on the prize. Plenty of metal bands are just pushing buttons on a laptop these days. Not them.
"That's artificial, that's not a band. That's not real to us," Lucker declares. "We're five dudes that pick up instruments and jam together as a whole. It's organic. It's real."
Steve Evetts (Dillinger Escape Plan, Sepultura) is a producer unafraid to adhere to a more old-school, organic approach to performances and tones which paid off here in spades. Zeuss (Hatebreed, Chimaira) came onboard as mixer. The collaboration was explosive.
"The combination had never been done before and it was proven to be exactly what we needed. We were able to completely capitalize on our sound. Those two helped us to make a phenomenal sounding record."
With cover artwork by Ken "K3N" Adams (Lamb Of God, Coheed and Cambria), Suicide Silence's The Black Crown makes a visually striking impression that serves as an invitation to the pummeling sound found within. With some three-hundred plus shows per year, Suicide Silence knows how to give "one hundred and ten percent" on all fronts. They are no overnight sensation, no "scene hype band." They have proven to be the real deal.
"I want to keep kicking doors down and breaking boundaries," Lucker promises. "Heavy metal has always been around and heavy metal will always be around. It’s not going anywhere and as long as we’re capable, we’re going to keep creating heavy, heavy, heavy amazing sounding music."