When Suicide Silence released its 2014 album You Can’t Stop Me, it was dealing with difficult circumstances far beyond the band’s control. Back in 2012, the quintet’s popular frontman, Mitch Lucker, had been killed in a motorcycle accident, throwing loved ones and bandmates into shock. After the group made the decision to continue without Lucker, All Shall Perish‘s Eddie Hermida joined as its new vocalist, and they set about getting Hermida established as their singer. The metal community embraced the change, enabling You Can’t Stop Me to debut on the Billboard 200 at No. 16.
Now Suicide Silence is facing a new challenge, albeit one of its own design. Whereas You Can’t Stop Me closely hewed to the deathcore band’s intense, aggressive sound, its self-titled album (arriving today on Nuclear Blast Entertainment) is a sonic left turn. As previously released tracks “Doris” and “Silence” have shown thus far, Suicide Silence is a collection of moody, downtempo tracks where Hermida drops the throat-splitting howls deathcore is known for in exchange for more traditional singing.
“It was simply time,” says Hermida of why the group made the change. “We have been a band for a little over 15 years. The death of our singer, the reforming of the band and the unconditional support from our fan base has always inspired us to follow what the heart says. We decided that this was the perfect time for us to branch out and show the world that we are not some one-trick pony. We set out to show the world what extreme musicians make out of music that is not considered to be extreme. We wanted to show the depths of darkness that can come out of ethereal tones.”
Billboard has the exclusive video premiere of the track “Dying in a Red Room,” a song that originated “on tour in the back lounge one crazy night,” recalls Hermida. “That riff was spewed out and stuck. We started jamming it, and that song was done quick and natural. We wanted that song to be very fluid. It’s meant to be a love song to the ghosts we carry around with us. To never be afraid to be yourself or listen to your heart. In a way, that is always what this band has wanted to represent: fearlessness.”
Watch the video below:
Fan reaction to the musical shift has been divided, with some being quite vocal on social media with their unhappiness. The band is well aware of this response — and when asked how he deals with such criticism, Hermida has an interesting answer: “Honesty. We have always been honest with our music,” he says. “We put 100 percent love and passion into our music and feel the same about all the fans that give us both the fuel and return the love passion we give. I have found that with negative critics online, the best response is ‘thanks.’ I am grateful to even be mentioned in any kind of way by anyone. It means I pressed a button. It means I did my job as an artist. Complacency is death.”
Ross Robinson (Korn, Slipknot, Limp Bizkit), produced Suicide Silence, which partially explains why some responses compare the group’s new style to Korn, as well as to Deftones and Tool. Hermida calls it “an honor to be compared to our influences,” but thinks his band is “a whole different animal.”
“To me, it’s such an obvious comparison that they aren’t seeing the big picture,” he says. “They equate recording with Ross with sounding nu metal or like Korn … we were all Ross Robinson fans, so it’s also obvious to me that we would draw from our influences to create the music we love. I suggest to look deeper, listen harder and ask yourself why you need to compare anything. Why can’t it just be music?”
Hermida calls it a no-brainer for the band to work with Robinson on this project. “We knew we wanted to do something fresh and raw. In a way, he came to us,” says Hermida. “We knew the moment he walked up we were going to do something entirely different. That helped the motivation on this record. Full submersion into the unknown. Full engulfment in the fires that cleanse the soul. He gave us space to expand our own universe.”