Conversation, the metaphorical rally between two players, what ideas stem from be they good or bad. Enabling the flow of thinking it is an invaluable tool and one which is quickly becoming an afterthought. Walking around in the modern day, the ability to have a conversation is somewhat of a novelty. So engrossed in their own portrayal in this cyberworld we call the Internet, they are beginning to miss the world itself around them. Ranging from pictures and videos, people would rather isolate themselves, together in proximity yet entirely separate on their phones. Inflating the idea of nonexistence and non consequential remarks online, there has been more evidence of cyber bullying being on the rise. Giving rise to the faceless and ultimately giving bullies the perfect tool to use at their whim. Statistics show :
“Over 80% of teens use a cell phone frequently, making it the most popular type of technology and a medium for cyber bullying” along with 88% of teens using social media say they have seen someone or cruel to another person on a social network site.”
These are terrifying statistics and just the beginning of many more, which you can see fully here, which have now have inevitably made their way into the music scene. With increased accessibility to online communities owing to bad monotization it enables bullying to become rampant. Causing an incredible problem for the younger teens and no doubt young adults, are very much becoming at risk in the online community. Problems with image, the entirely false life that Instagram has crafted can be mentally damaging, along with the tirade of abuse freely available on Twitter. Creating a metaphorical ring for abuse along with a fantasy portrayal of oneself through the internet.
Returning to the studio back in 2016, Suicide Silence were penning their biggest release to date, the self titled Suicide Silence. Defiantly announcing their return their main single “Doris” was ripped apart. Inspired to do something different from the conventional Deathcore that we all know and (love?) and instantly the world turned to hate. I admit entirely, my first listen was one of absolute bewilderment, once more, twice more, I began to understand what they were alluding to but what about the comments? Were they truly necessary to roll out
“360 video, so you can spin as fast as Mitch Lucker in his coffin” or “If this doesn’t bring Mitch from the grave to slap the shit out of eddy I don’t know what will maybe the next song silence.”
We decided to investigate further at the source of all this Metal commotion and got in touch with forebearer of all this negativity, Eddie Hermida.
It’s warranted for them bro. That’s where I think a lot of people are mistaking our stance. It’s not that I don’t care, I go and I read a lot of comments man, I read as much as I possibly can to pay attention to what our kids are saying.” speaks Eddie Hermida frontman and brunt bearer of the new hate.
Adding “I think that the music is making them feel something! If it is complete disgust and disdain for what we’re doing, so be it! Do it! I’m expecting them to have patience with me so I’m going to have unrelenting patience for them.”
A mature and altogether brave view from the person who has been the subject to the most amount of criticism. Having to coin a phrase, inherited the crown on their previous release You Can’t Stop Me, Hermida was praised amongst Suicide Silence fans yet is now being condemned for wantin to be part of something new. It is interesting how the fans have hardly commented on the rest of the band however, making Eddie the focal point of the idea of change. Yet still the people are directing their insults his way, never mind the newly discovered information that Mitch Lucker would have been trying out clean singing as well so whatever the conduit that style was approaching Suicide Silence.
Everyone’s a critic
“They’re people who were like me at one point. I negated music left and right. Some of my favourite music today was music that I hated when I was younger, before there was internet. I would tell all my friends how much that band sucked. How much the vocalist was terrible and I’m eating my words dude, literally as an adult dude.
Continuing Eddie adds : “I think back in the day, people would have felt these things on their own. Then they would have talked about it in their group of friends and then there would be a true discussion amongst friends, like I used to have.”
So metal as a community has always been very opinionated. Whether you stand with the classic old school mentality or the idea of embracing innovation, a lot of time, mostly around a pub table, Metal ideas are put forward. Here, like Eddie, we have the ability to converse with friends to even be able to iron out opinions. Whereas now you have the ability to hop online, the online community instead not only is not close knit but is also faceless. To put it this way, the small dinosaur Compsognathus as individuals are harmless, yet when banded together, they can be incredibly deadly as we found out in Jurassic Park’s Lost World.
“To be one hundred percent real with you I don’t care much for it. I think it’s a place to bully people, if you are a bully or if you’ve been bullied. It’s honestly a place that does absolutely nothing. If any of these bad comments were to actually have some fortitude behind it, I would say “fuck man, this community is bad ass. It stands up for something, it’s really doing something”.
Reinforcing his point : “But really all it’s doing is one person speaking up and then you get the line of people who associate themselves and identify with somebody else’s comment. “They’re like oh yeah! That guy is totally right” when really there’s no basis in it. It’s just unwarranted hatred and there is no real poignancy to what they’re saying.
Giving people the platform to have their voice heard is of course a fantastic idea. It has enabled bands and fans to interact on an interpersonal level that we couldn’t have dreamt of. Even leading bands to now be funded by fans courtesy of the ideas bight forward with IndieGoGo and Patreon. However it does give rise to some incredibly opinionated people to spread their often inaccurate, controversial and downright offensive beliefs. No I’m not talking about Trump’s Twitter account either!
A true tail between their legs moment
“I would be the kid going “Fuck this band, they’re fuckin’ technically whack. They’re not even playing syncopated notes correctly!” All this technical mumbo jumbo because I was a trained musician. I was a person that could sight read music so all of a sudden I knew the keys to how bands got big and I knew what real singing was and I knew what a real Metal band was. I had no fuckin’ clue! I was just talking. I was talking for the sake of having an opinion. I would get into these discussions with my friends and they would be like “Dude, you’re fuckin’ outta your mind”. That’s what having an opinion is all about.
Dragging the ideals of journalism down with it, the so called rise of the keyboard warrior has been helped immensely by the availability of the Internet. Dishing out comments left or right who think that no one will pay attention to them. Even enabling people who might have a somewhat ignorant opinion to spread their gospel far and wide. Perhaps it could be a cry for attention thinking they would be welcomed in this community, however sometimes their phrases can come back to bite them with a election they might not have anticipated.
“I’ve actually gone and liked a bunch of comments that have been really hateful. “Hey Eddie, you’re a piece of shit. Your fuckin’ vocals suck and you’re ruining Suicide Silence and I have gone and I’ve liked the comments. I’ve gone and personally commented saying “Hey man, thanks for paying attention, I appreciate your words of advice and I appreciate your criticism. Thank you very much, I hope you get the record.” Then they turn around and send me a direct message, because they’re too afraid to put it on the internet “Oh dude! I was just messin’ around man! I never thought that you would ever read this. Now that you are reading this I’m really stoked.”
Substance over style
The decision to change their musual vision into this new evolution of Suicide Silence is not one that came lightly. Second single “Silence” also highlights the idea of of humanity being so preoccupied with satisfying the needs of its peacock like social media addiction. Alluding to the fact that when you truly sit down and are alone with your own thoughts it can be a terrifying ordeal. Enlisting the help from the legendary, Ross Robinson, the man responsible for the modern classics of Slipknot’s self titled effort, Korn’s truly heart wrenching “Daddy” and plenty more immense additions to the Metal world. The man’s methods are one of total immersion. Truly understand not only the song but yourself, is the key to creating REAL music.
“That’s all Ross Robinson. There’s a magic to him, it’s the way he records man. He forces you into this gnarly place. You have no choice but to really let loose and it’s scary, it’s downright fucking scary man. The places that you can dive into when you’re allowed to be alone with your mind.”
“It was the intimacy. The blatant cutting open of who I am and diving head first into my soul and pulling myself out of my body is what Ross did. He helped me get rid of any inhibition and go for it. That helped me grow as a human being. It helped me realise that I need to have more confidence in myself. It made me realise that when I chose to be scary and brutal and fight the grain in an attempt to make music that was going to feed my career and feed my fans. That I was doing the exact opposite and I was serving people instead of serving myself which is what people want.”
But perhaps people don’t understand what exactly it is that they want. Similar to a child not wanting to play with a toy until the other has it. The internet thrives off negativity. For example the idea of trends, no doubt some of the people have no idea about and will be skeptical yet will follow suit with the hype created because they deem it to be trendy again highlight this herd like attitude that we adopt to conform with our peers. Going against the grain the singer looked at the bigger picture.
“Once I removed myself from the picture I was able to really see the music as the purpose and I was able to see the song as my method of being free. That to me was very eye opening and it helped me mature as a person. I left that studio pretty much ready to do anything in my life. If this is something that people don’t really like or don’t really go for I have no regard for that. I really only care about the abilities that I have and I really only care about being able to satisfy that beast inside of me that wants to create for the sake of release and not for the sake of getting something back. I just want to let go and be free.”
Playing it safe
With the reaction that fans have had to this different direction could it be possible that bands are no longer pushing the boundaries and now cater to the fans? Surely to be bold and to be different is a commendable quality that deserves praise rather than calls of “boo“? Are bands now playing it safe with use of various different mixing / recording software equipments or perfecting sounds to give a crisp and clean cut when in actual fact and often live it may well not sound like that at all?
“Fuck yeah man! Everybody’s safe. Everybody is hiding behind auto tune hiding behind drum replacement tones, you edit drumming to be really on point, you play to a click while you’re recording. You put all these restraints on yourself because there is tjos pressure to be perfect all the time! Music is not perfect. The more dirty and the more raw it is, the more people are going to love it! If I want perfect music then I’m going to go and listen to Stravinski, I’m not going to listen to Deathcore, Get the fuck outta here!”
Nevertheless with this new age that we are living in bands are more and more reliant on technology learring to some making music that could well be beyond their means. In particular a stand out element of the new album and a signature trait of Robinson is the rough and ready raw tone of the record. Almost giving the effect that the band are in a rehearsal room just next door! An organic quality that can scarecely be found in the production values, particularly that of Metal.
“Oh that’s very much on purpose. We recorded the drums to tape. Recording to tape nowadays is a very expensive and dated process. It’s only dated because bands can’t afford nowadays to record that way. We fortunately have built a strong enough fan base to be able to take a leap like this. Ross would have recorded us the same way and definitely not to tape had we had a smaller budget but because that was the case, we were able to really lock into that feeling of being in the studio back in 1994 before there was Pro Tools or any editing software. It was “Hey man, hit record and the band is just going to jam.” That’s how we wrote a lot of this record. It was just jamming, being in a room.”
“Staring at each other from across the way and giving each other confidence to do whatever we wanted to do. It wasn’t for any kind of rectification, it wasn’t to be praised by fans. It wasn’t for any other reason than “This is what the music is telling us to do and this is what we are supposed to do”.
Is the make up of a modern Metal band changing or has it already fallen into this transition. It’s interesting to note that, Meshuggah for example purveyors of this modern Metal recording technique instead embraced the imperfection on their latest album The Violent Sleep Of Reason wanting a more organic tonality, not to mention recording live. Again bands are now able to come together to write music with members on different continents but does this make them a “band” has the nature of the “band” itself died out or simply changing with the day and age that we live in?
“When you hang out together, when you’re an actual band man. I see so many bands out there that live in separate places and they don’t meet up to practice. They practice once or twice before they go out on tour and play in front of fans. Then they wonder why the fans a dwindling. They pay more attention to what’s going on on the internet than what is happening right there in front of them which is their band not being a band. Those are the people that get praised, then the band that is actually out there being a band and hanging out together testing the water and pushing the boundaries, we’re the ones receiving the flack. It just goes to show you how the internet is.”
“There is no one leading the way and showing people how to be a band anymore and that’s where we come into play. That’s where we want to make a change and want to make a difference. We’re a band! We’re the best band out there.”
Desoute our progression it seems that bands are deeming it too artificial and are now wanting to go back to the roots, back to the original ways of recording. Exploring particular sounds in the production especially tying in with the therapeutic atmosphere that Ross Robinson was offering, the band were both emotionally and musically at their most raw. Having now closed their chapter with Mitch Lucker, now the band are ready to begin their new chapter. A fresh start, a clean slate starting with the acceptance of themselves as people, one that seemed to be a large step for Eddie particularly in the thought provoking and harrowing listen that is “Hold Me Up Hold Me Down”
“That song was written based on my alcoholism and based on the alcoholism that is based within our scene. If you’ve ever been around a person who has been an alcoholic and they are recovering the first thing they say is “Oh I can’t hang out anymore because I can’t be around people who drink” the truth is that they are jealous. They become jealous of the people who are able to maintain their liquor drinking and do it well.
We were hanging out with our tour manager and our tour manager happened to get drunk that night and we were all partying. That was one of the first times that I realised that I didn’t really have a problem anymore and that I could be around people who were drinking and i didn’t feel this overwhelming urge to dive in. I pretty much fell in love with partying again! Hanging with my friends, even if they were drunk, i didn’t have to be. The song is dedicated to our tour manager for being such a badass beacon of light. Even when he’s so blacked out, he’s still such a loving dude that we had to dedicate a song to him.
In understanding themselves as a band, Suicide Silence have become a new entity entirely. Disengaging with the want of the fan base and focusing on their own needs. Of course people will disagree bup without the catalyst there would be no change, the hallmarks of a grand breaking act is the ability to reflect and understand. See the emerging pattern and go against the grain, after all isn’t that what Metal has always strived for? The perfect example of what a self titled record should stand for.
“The self titled thing has many facets. One of them being and probably the most prominent that we wanted to show everyone that we are allowed to do whatever the hell we want. We aren’t here to please anyone, we’re here to serve the music and if we’re not called to do the same record that we have done before then that should be met with the same respect that you’ve had for this name and this band. We’re not going anywhere, we’re not changing our name, we’re not going to do anything but progress as a band. Progression means change and if you can’t accept that, the door is very clear, you don’t have to listen to our record. We’re not begging you for any attention, we just want to be who we want to be. We’re just us man, a bunch of NuMetal Beavis’ and we just want to make music to make people shake their butts, music that makes people move and feel man.
Releasing their brand new record, the band open up and show their wounds But what have they learnt in the process? Rather than bare their teeth to the legions of fans, who have condemned the record, not to mention without even having heard it before making their opinion up it highlights not only the absolutely terrifying effect of the mob rule mentality. Rather more positively the staying power and the understanding of not only themselves as a band but as human beings. Going through valuable life lessons every day, experience can be the greatest teacher.
“How to be free and fearless. Fearlessness is something that has always represented the band and it’s something that I now represent as well I’m not afraid to make changes like I used to be and I’m going to make them and I’m going to make them bigger than ever. The next record is going to be crazier, the record after that is going to be crazier! Always going to push the boundaries and that is something to expect from me.”
Suicide Silence’s brand new self titled record is set for a February 24 release via Nuclear Blast.