Did anyone remember that Suicide Silence released an album in 2020? Well, they technically did, though how much Become The Hunter classes as a proper album instead of an extended venture in damage control can be debated. After all, it followed 2017’s self-titled release, an album whose pillorying has become the stuff of legend within modern metal, even if it didn’t quite deserve some of the harsher epithets thrown its way. Yes, it was undoubtedly messy and misshapen with an eye for baffling creative choices begging to be ironed out at least two or three times more, but it was also the kind of fascinating disaster that it’s always good to have around. A go-for-broke attitude like that album displayed is always fun to see, and at least swerved it away from the irredeemable trainwreck that so many lambasted it as.
But at the end of the day, that’s the reputation it got, and so strived Become The Hunter to erase any trace of its existence by rewinding Suicide Silence to their deathcore roots, with perhaps their most anonymous results to date. It’s not like the album was bad so much as it remains completely unmemorable now, and the realisation that it was without so much of their characteristic flavour—be that from the Mitch Lucker or Eddie Hermida eras—came quickly. And while it functionally did its job as a grovelling apology, no one’s really talking about Suicide Silence like they used to. It likely can be argued that the self-titled tainted their legacy that much for some, to where Remember… You Must Die is effectively sneaking out with little of the fanfare that would’ve blared ahead of this band’s arrival in the past.
It’s worth noting that Remember… You Must Die is better than its predecessor, but it lands in an awkward way that feels like a harbinger of everything else to come for Suicide Silence. The feeling of still trying to compensate hasn’t gone away; instead it’s just been redirected to maybe seem a bit less obvious. But it’s still there all the same. It’s still the spectre looming over Suicide Silence’s head and pigeonholing every decision made, as to scientifically avoid incurring the same backlash as before. And that’s not a useful way to make an album for any, no less a band once spearheading deathcore as a genre, and close to doing so with metal as a whole.
At least it avoids the micromanaging as excessive as Become The Hunter, which does feel like an immediate bump up. In fact, it’s hardly a surprise that the moments and choices with the most slack ties to strict deathcore are the most ear-catching, aiming for something closer to classic death metal on the fire-and-ice blasts of Kill Forever, or the groove on Alter Of Self that’s easily got the most thrust on the album. It’s a natural jump that Suicide Silence work well with, all without minimalising too much of the deathcore savagery they made their name on. It’s unrelenting stuff, no doubt, and exactly on that no-messing-around wavelength that a post-self-titled Suicide Silence are clearly reticent to move from now.
Which is where the conversation about how good an idea that is really hinges on. Because sure, Remember… You Must Die is a prime example of how Suicide Silence can please fans and still be able to cast their net out a bit wider. Even so, it’s disingenuous to say that there doesn’t feel like some compromise here; there’s literally nothing stopping Suicide Silence from making a full-on, old-school death metal album, so why not just do it? They can—they do well enough at on this album—but too often, it feels like the trepidation and withholding to fan expectation that’s preventing it. It’s not Suicide Silence’s fault necessarily, but being forever stuck in a loop of indemnification for the sins of one album isn’t creatively healthy, and they still feel as though they’re there on Remember… You Must Die. And when you extrapolate to wonder how much of Suicide Silence’s career moving forward could potentially be just damage control, Hermida’s own crowd-pleasing copy, “This is the most straight-to-the-point record that we’ve done since I’ve been in the band. It’s straight-up heavy deathcore” kind of feels like an answer.
Maybe that’s reading into things way too much, but it is a valid bugbear. After all, even in a vacuum, Remember… You Must Die could definitely strive for a bit more, or to move Suicide Silence into metal pastures more accommodating of some of their more classic impulses. They’ve never been inspired lyricists but you aren’t getting much mileage from what’s here, in the sort of violent, nihilistic deathcore fantasies whose entire appeal is spelled out in their titles. A run of Capable Of Violence (N.F.W), Fucked For Life, Kill Forever and God Be Damned hardly needs elaboration, nor do Suicide Silence give much of it. What you see truly is what you get.
That basically leaves their efficacy at blitzing through it all, for which there are minimal complaints. If there’s one thing that’s never been an issue with Suicide Silence, it’s that, and nothing’s changed too much here. Some production quibbles here and there can be a bit of a mood-killer—you get that old-school death metal thinness in spots, and the drums can swamp everything else out on Fucked For Life—but the proficiency speaks for itself across the board. Hermida especially feels galvanised this time around with how sharp his various screaming techniques all are, while new drummer Ernie Iniguez integrates himself into the fold with killer dexterity and range.
It’s that kind of noteworthy brush with greatness that makes Remember… You Must Die so frustrating as a whole. Maybe it’s the bridging step needed for Suicide Silence to actually have the confidence to create fully off their own backs again; maybe it’s the indication of restraint that’ll colour all of their work going forward. There’s really no way to tell just yet, and while neither option has yielded something as largely inconsequential as Become The Hunter has ended up being, it still doesn’t feel helpful to be this uncertain at this stage. At least, on its own, this is fairly good with flashes of being more. That can stoke some hope of Suicide Silence fully regaining their footing if nothing else, even if Remember… You Must Die isn’t wholly that.
For fans of: Chelsea Grin, Despised Icon, Obituary
‘Remember… You Must Die’ by Suicide Silence is released on 10th March on Century Media Records.
Words by Luke Nuttall