Artist: Make them Suffer
Horns sounded. Bells clang. I could practically feel the quivering violin strings as if I was playing it myself. The crescendo pouring through my headphones was nearly as tangible as my excitement. Then, a pause. Clenching my fists and biting my lip, my heart skipped a beat. Then, the inhale, and the sweet, sweet release. Pounding drums, heavy, fast guitar, haunting keys and piercing screams burst through my ear drums. The wait was over–Make Them Suffer’s Neverbloom was upon me.
The first time I heard a band referred to as “symphonic deathcore,” I was a little puzzled at the term. What elements would differentiate deathcore in a manner distinct enough to make it “symphonic?” How would it be any different than deathcore with the occasional synth-lead breakdown or chilling violin sample? Australian outfit Make Them Suffer clarified my confusion with expertise. Make Them Suffer consistently include chilling keys and stunning, climactic violin samples along with atmospheric chimes and dynamic, heavy–yet progressive and constructive–song structure differentiates Neverbloom from the “standard” deathcore release. Each song–even the shorter ones–build up from an attention-grabbing introduction to a stunning climax using a variety of elements as if they were building blocks to construct a dynamic and diverse sound. Singles “Neverbloom” and “Maelstrom” are stellar examples of this. At first glance, a deathcore track clocking in at nearly seven minutes looks overbearing with a chance of severe monotony. However, beginning with a bone-chilling piano lead and an effect-laden drum line, the song sounds almost like the soundtrack to a nightmare. By the end of the track, the listener has been dragged through spine-smashing slams and bone-busting breakdowns, each building up to a crescendo of symphonic elements and heaviness which makes the build-up even more worth listening to.
It isn’t just the dynamism in each track (long or short) which makes Neverbloom an intriguing listen. The diverse vocal ranges used in each track stem the potential onslaught of monotony (something easily attainable in a modern-day deathcore release). These colorful vocals, with passionate (if not occasionally over-simplified) lyrics are painted over a canvas of instrumentation which is rich with talent. While the guitars or bass never truly show off with shreddy, dominating leads, they use odd timing and bizarrely intricate riffs to play off of one another without sounding mundane or chuggy. Placed along side blistering blast beats and fill-laden drumming, the instruments combine with the vocals to accompany Make Them Suffer’s strongest element, and the facet of Neverbloom which truly steals the show: the keys. Using a variety of tones and samples, if it weren’t for the keys, many of Neverbloom’s finest moments would just be filler in an above-average deathcore release. Whether it’s the atmospheric mood setting up “Neverbloom,” or the chilling additions they make to “Widower,” the keys are a constant driving force in the powerhouse that is Neverbloom.
What’s the issue with Make Them Suffer’s full-length, you might ask? Well, the issue is just that; it’s length. While it is a completely enjoyable album to listen through, it is a little long. While at no particular point is it overbearing, the number of tracks–especially the number of tracks clocking in at over five minutes–is a lot to trek through for a deathcore album. Make no mistake, Neverbloom is captivating, but especially after repeated listens, its magic wears off before the album has played out in its entirety.
So, you’re looking for some different deathcore? Or maybe you’re like me, and just trying to figure out what the hell is going on with symphonic deathcore? Either way, look no further than Make Them Suffer’s Neverbloom. Filled to the brim with amazing, haunting, heavy and memorable moments from beginning to end, it’s sure to fill your quota for intelligently brutal music–even if getting to the end feels like more of a chore than it should.