Suicide Silence

The Black Crown

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Never the most malleable of styles under the best of circumstances, early third millennium deathcore was nonetheless briefly given a relatively distinctive flair by Riverside, California's Suicide Silence, whose 2009 sophomore album, No Time to Bleed, found clever ways to infiltrate ear-catching hooks amidst the genre's customary sonic onslaught. This is why it was both baffling and disappointing to see the band move backwards and closer to the mediocre deathcore "center" with its third long-player, The Black Crown, two years later. Barring a precious few cuts decorated with unexpected twists outside the bounds of the genre's average schizophrenia (see "You Only Live Once" and "Human Violence," with its retro thrash dive-bombing solo), the album's ruling majority of songs ("O.C.D.," "Cross-Eyed Catastrophe," the ironically named "The Only Thing That Set Us Apart," etc.) pretty much came and went with little to tether themselves to nearby neuron receptors. Or worse, went about it in all the wrong ways -- none more wrong than welcoming Korn's Jonathan Davis and his idiot's vibrato into the absolutely deplorable "Witness the Addiction." And perhaps just as noteworthy, with the band's whiff of the big time (previous albums had sold nearly in six figures in the U.S. alone!) came another concession to the mainstream in the shape of dropping anti-Christian lyrics for less controversial, introspective ones -- though, to be fair, this probably didn't rankle listeners nearly as much as the decreasing musical adventurousness. In light of all this, perhaps the oh-so-eloquent "F**k Everything" said it best -- both in terms of the band's seemingly blasé creative approach for much of The Black Crown's duration, and by foretelling consumer reaction as Suicide Silence's album sales plummeted accordingly.

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