The black cloud of hate that has followed metalcore and deathcore since the early 2000s is finally starting to dissipate. Metalheads are dropping the elitism when it comes to these genres more and more. Who would have ever thought that someone like George Corpsegrinder Fisher would have done an album with Adam D of Killswitch Engage and Shannon Lucas of The Black Dahlia Murder and All That Remains? Additionally, while it seems the trendier Hot Topic deathcore of the 2000s is fading away, there has been a rise in metal acts adding hardcore to their sound and vice versa like Code Orange, Nails, and Oathbreaker. Perhaps we are seeing a new wave of metalcore? Who knows?
So This Is Suffering’s brand of deathcore fits firmly in the mid-2000s wave with the likes of All Shall Perish, Through The Eyes of Dead, and As Blood Runs Black. You might be thinking this album isn’t your cup of tea after that description but you should give it a chance first. There’s plenty of metal riffs here and no sappy choruses or lame gimmicks to be heard. The album succeeds in bringing the brutality with tons of jerky breakdowns, rapid transitions, and nihilistic lyrics. It’s quite the maximalist experience and certainly will leave you wanting multiple listens.
Take, for example, the track “Portraits of Fixation”. It begins with a flurry of double tracked guitars that create some impressive dissonances while the drummer hammers away at some intricate, but still laid back, fills. By the 30 second mark, there’s already a huge breakdown that instantly gets interrupted by the next section. The song transitions to an extended solo and eventually finds steady footing, however, they manage to find time for a short bass solo, a more melodic section, a few more huge breakdowns, and a clean section all within the 3 and a half minute song. So This Is Suffering demonstrates their abundance of ideas and unwillingness to settle into something comfortable on this album. For most of the record, this overwhelming, dizzying approach is extremely effective.
Unfortunately, this album’s biggest strength can turn into a major weakness. At first, I thought this album reeked of sameness but after many listens, I realized that it’s actually the opposite: this album has too many ideas. In every song, there’s about 10 gems of great ideas that simply aren’t given enough time to sink in. A great riff gets played or a forward moving, melodic section and it’s enjoyable but before you can even process it, it shifts into something else. It leaves you wanting more but not always in a good way. Having these pieced together ideas with almost no repetition, hooks, or anything to hold on to, overstimulates the brain and creates that false of sameness I felt.
If you kept reading this entire review and didn’t exit your window when I mentioned breakdowns, then you can buy So This Is Suffering’s new album from Unique Leader Records along with some cool merch too.