Underground. Where else would you expect to find the true blood and guts of the extreme metal scene? The filthiest, most brutal bands dishing out the most intense punishment are here, unfettered by here-today-gone-tomorrow trends or the temptation to conform to some notion of what a metal band should be. Suicide Silence, an astonishingly well-developed five-piece from Riverside, CA, are a true product of that always thriving underground, a band single-mindedly focused on creating rabidly heavy and aggressive music.
Suicide Silence started in late 2002 as a side project for its members who were all involved in other local bands at the time. Things didn’t get serious, however, until 2004, when the current lineup was solidified. “Early on we were slower and sludgier,” explains drummer Josh Goddard, “but through a few member changes the sound became more powerful and energetic.” This mix of musicians brought together their influences—death metal, grindcore, black metal, hardcore, doom—and combined them into songs that are complex without being mystifying, and savagely fast and explosive without becoming a featureless blur.
Their debut 5-song EP for Third Degree Records is a brutal testament to the sort of damage Suicide Silence is capable of inflicting. Though definitely rooted in what Goddard calls a “fast-paced death metal style,” it defies that genre’s sometimes predictable conventions, striving instead for something more unique. The songs are dynamic and crushing, shifting effortlessly from insane grind chaos into total molten sludge, with plenty of dynamic twists and turns along the way. Vocalist Mitch Lucker screams, growls and grunts over an ungodly guitar assault, while the band’s surgically precise rhythm section handles the disorienting time signatures and snail-paced grooves with equal efficiency.
It is a sound that, though well-manifested on their EP, is devastating live. Suicide Silence’s breakdowns cause havoc in the pit, their blast-beats are neck-snapping and there is a palpable sense of barely controlled pandemonium when they play live. “We don’t hold back,” says Goddard, “and we try to give the crowd a show rather than standing around watching the moshpit and acting tough.” The reputation they’ve staked as a fearsome live act has brought them the opportunity to play with bands as diverse as God Forbid, Impaled, Bury Your Dead and Between the Buried and Me. And touring fervently in support of every release is a given.
Suicide Silence may be a product of the burgeoning metal underground in the U.S., but their goals are far from modest. Without pandering to trends, or riding some scene’s coattails, the band always wants to move forward, wherever it takes them. “We never want to stop improving—as a band, as individual musicians, as songwriters and as performers,” says Goddard. “We want to make sure that every album we put out and every show we play is better than the last.”