Many of the greatest works of art throughout history were fashioned from grief, anger and overwhelming despair descending on its creators in the aftermath of tragedy and SUICIDE SILENCE's appropriately titled You Can't Stop Me is no exception. Plenty of bands trumpet the idea of strength through adversity, but few have lived it like this one.
Like the once unthinkable creative and commercial reemergence of ALICE IN CHAINS or the classic, legendary and timeless touchstone that is AC/DC's Back in Black, Suicide Silence's fourth album features a new frontman on the heels of earthshaking tragedy.
You Can't Stop Me serves as a simultaneous introduction to vocalist Hernan "Eddie" Hermida, as well as a celebration of the brotherhood the band shared with Hermida's fallen predecessor. The group chose the album's title from a collection of lyrics left behind by the late Mitch Lucker, while their formidable revamped sound makes it clear that Suicide Silence's resurrection is complete. Ever since Suicide Silence went public with their plans to continue as a band, they've put all of the emotions from the last two years into these songs. "Inherit the Crown" name-checks The Black Crown, as Hermida demands the opportunity to honor his friend's legacy and carve out a place of his own.
Mark Heylmun and Chris Garza (guitars), Dan Kenny (bass) and Alex Lopez (drums) sound more driven than ever, force-feeding their mash-up of death metal, black metal, grind and time-signature bending dissonance into structured, focused and often groove-oriented missives of anger and perseverance. Just as the surviving members of JOY DIVISION were able to remake themselves as NEW ORDER, and as a post-plane crash LYNYRD SKYNYRD was reborn with Johnny Van Zant stepping in for his late brother, You Can't Stop Me is equal parts mournful tribute and statement of renewed purpose.
Death metal legend George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher (CANNIBAL CORPSE) and Greg Puciato (THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, KILLER BE KILLED) make guest appearances, but make no mistake: Suicide Silence is as bonded, as cohesive, as ever. Their unity of purpose is palpable in "Sacred Words," "Warrior" and "We Have All Had Enough" while the entire album is the testament of a band exorcising its demons & reclaiming its future.
You Can't Stop Me was produced and mixed by Steve Evetts (THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, GLASSJAW, SEPULTURA), the band's longtime friend and collaborator. Evetts was set to begin working with Lucker on new material just days after the singer's passing.
The closely-knit group of Southern Californian metal heavyweights were course for a well-deserved victory lap of sorts by the Fall of 2012. The group had been together for a decade, having shaped and unquestionably led the "deathcore" subgenre as assuredly as MORBID ANGEL became synonymous with death metal or KORN with nue-metal upon arrival of their debut album, The Cleansing. Suicide Silence was named "Best New Talent" at the Revolver Golden Gods Awards and had already dominated the Rockstar Mayhem touring festival by the time No Time To Bleed broke into the Billboard Top 40. "Wake Up" and "Lifted" became underground classics, as Suicide Silence transcended the subgenre they helped define and became peers with bands they'd grown up listening to as kids in Riverside.
The Black Crown was the full realization of everything Suicide Silence stood for and stood against. The charisma, easygoing charm and visceral performances of frontman Mitch Lucker helped make Suicide Silence a staple attraction at Vans Warped Tour and extreme metal festivals alike. Lucker's undeniable command bridged the gap between the subcultural adherents of the band's bludgeoning ferocity and the generation of youth desperate for a supportive community to help them overcome life's struggles. After three successful records, which included remixes and guest appearances from modern metal heroes like Shawn "Clown" Crahan (SLIPKNOT) and Jonathan Davis (KORN), Suicide Silence went on to ink a new deal with the freshly created Nuclear Blast Entertainment in the Summer of 2012, just a few months before their world would forever be changed.
October 31st, 2012 brought on the darkest day that all involved with Suicide Silence had ever experienced. The world of metal was shocked and saddened when news spread of Mitch Lucker's tragic passing. The beloved frontman, husband and father was killed while riding his motorcycle on Halloween Night. Support and sympathy poured out from across the globe. The man who popularized the "You Only Live Once" phrase in the heavy music community had left the world behind unexpectedly and much too soon to fathom.
In December, 2012, Suicide Silence took the stage without Mitch for the first time, playing an emotional and career spanning set at the Fox Theater in Pomona dubbed "Ending is the Beginning: The Mitch Lucker Memorial Show." A who's-who of luminaries from the band's friends and peers in metal stood as frontmen, including Chad Gray (MUDVAYNE), Randy Blythe (LAMB OF GOD), Austin Carlile (OF MICE & MEN), Robb Flynn (MACHINE HEAD), Max Cavalera (SOUFLY, KILLER BE KILLED) and many others. One of the esteemed guests was none other than Eddie Hermida, a close friend of the band & then-vocalist of ALL SHALL PERISH.
Hermida's performance of "Slaves to Substance," recorded along with the rest of the set for a subsequent CD/DVD release, demonstrated a vibrant chemistry with the members of Suicide Silence & eventually led to him being the only vocalist considered for the band's continuance. An understanding, supportive and loyal audience responded enthusiastically to the October, 2013 announcement that Suicide Silence would officially continue with Eddie Hermida at the helm. The news was accompanied by a vocal sample of "You Only Live Once" and a commitment that the band would carry on in Mitch's honor.
The new Suicide Silence made their live debut at Australia's Soundwave in 2014, part of a massive lineup that included GREEN DAY, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, A DAY TO REMEMBER, MASTODON and many more. Fittingly, the reinvigorated Alice In Chains was one of the headliners, riding high on a second comeback-era record.
Most bands will declare their most recent album the "best" they've ever done. Suicide Silence have declared You Can't Stop Me as their most impassioned, most committed, and most important release thus far. It's a record they fought, bled, sweated and even cried to make happen. Consequently, it's a record that must be heard. As Suicide Silence have found new life and empowerment in the compositions boiling within You Can't Stop Me, so shall their increasingly strong army of supporters, both old and new, who share in that empowerment. If a rising heavy metal band can overcome a tragedy this triumphantly, this definitively, this absolutely, then surely there's hope for us all.
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