Let’s be honest – listening to deathcore can be as mundane as continuing to describe it. For all the mosh-fiends content with beating up anything within the vicinity at the mere mention of a breakdown, there are enough people seeking out something that actually bothers to actually test itself. And if Suicide Silence’s attempt hadn’t been met with such derision, perhaps more deathcore bands would be more content with doing just that.
That doesn’t mean that those who are don’t exist though, as Make Them Suffer have shown all too often. This is a band who’ve actually been pushing themselves with each release, leading up to third album Worlds Apart, taking deathcore to its glitziest, most expansive limits. In fact, it’s a stretch to call it deathcore at all, given its flagrant disregard for the hammering breakdowns and the general darker tone the genre has become synonymous with. That’s hardly a bad thing, mind, and this sense of liberation becomes the driving force of every one of Worlds Apart‘s planes, be it the looser, less formulaic instrumental canvas, or the deeper feelings reaching down to a conceptual level, uploading one’s consciousness to a virtual world to break away from real life’s mundanity on Uncharted, or simply breaking free from an unhealthy lifestyle on Save Yourself.
Perhaps the greatest effect comes from the fact that such additions are small factors that only really work when put together. The base sound still rests on Sean Harmanis’ surprisingly varied vocal gamut and a heavier, more apocalyptic strain of guitar work, but where most deathcore bands would be content with leaving it at that, Make Them Suffer factor in a few extra dimensions for an overall more expansive sound. The keystone in how well this works is new addition Booka Niles, who brings twinkling keys and an ethereal backing vocal to tracks like First Movement, contributions that may seem small within the greater Make Them Suffer paradigm, but are arguably the most important. They bring a feeling of uplift and brighter tones to a genre that traditionally couldn’t be less welcoming to such things, but it’s a twist that puts the band in a completely different bracket to all potential competition. And with the Morse code breakdown on Vortex (ISHIE, the acronym for the subtitle Interdimensional Spiral Hindering Inexplicable Euphoria), Make Them Suffer show they can use their ultimately limited skill set with far greater intelligence and savvy than would be attributed to them.
That’s not to say what they’re doing here is foolproof, as there’s a couple of moments where their experiments can feel a bit shaky. The keys on Uncharted are hung a bit too high in the mix and create a weird sense of dissonance that doesn’t really fit well, and the fact that they leave in the interlude of Power Overwhelming – complete with stock computer sounds that have been inexplicably overused considering they sound awful – shows that there’s still a bit of growth to go before hit a real, consistent winner. Even so, Worlds Apart is a pleasant surprise for anyone expecting just another dime-a-dozen deathcore album. Rather, this is far more layered and interesting than anyone would expect from the genre on the whole, not quite enough to make it an essential listen, but certainly suggesting that could be a very real possibility soon.
For fans of: Northlane, Architects, Periphery
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Worlds Apart’ by Make Them Suffer is released on 28th July on Rise Records.