Album: Hate Obsession – EP
Sometimes, old sayings carry on and continue to “ring true,” even in spite of their inherent falsehood. Take, for example, the age-old adage “hate breeds hate.” Typically, this is true—where negative emotions prevail, more negative feels seem to follow, springing forth like a wellspring of malcontent. However, sometimes, hatred begets something beautiful—this is true of the debut EP by Orlando overlords of heavy, Suspect. Breaking into the ever-so-popular down-tempo deathcore scene with their aptly-named debut EP, Hate Obsession, Suspect are as sinister as they are serene, effortlessly creating immense, hammering soundscapes of ruthless dissonance that flatten the listener like a steamroller, but move at a snail’s pace. Hate Obsession is a prodigal display of punishing, pure misanthropy that will surely leave fans of heavy music obsessed.
If you’ve been paying any attention to heavy music in 2014, you’ve without a doubt noticed the newfound emphasis on low, slow and meaty deathcore that has earned the title “down-tempo.” With the floodgates opening up and countless bands—each lower and slower than the last—pouring into the scene and saturating listener’s ears, it’s become important for these bands to have something that differentiates themselves from their peers. Rather than drop their beats per minute into fractions, or tune to drop-everything, Suspect opted to include roomy, immense atmosphere and lofty—yet smothering—ambience to contrast with their dense, crippling chugs and leaden, booming percussion. One second, Suspect’s drums are roaring like mortars, bombarding the listener with explosive barrage after barrage of spine-shattering kick-drums and skin-splitting snare cracks—take the climactic breakdown in the EP’s title track as a stellar example. However, just as quickly as the breakdown began, it fades into a groovy, fluid bounce where the drumming that stole the show during the breakdown finds itself sharing the spotlight with pummeling, punchy guitars and low, writhing bass. The opening to “Deviant” also displays this—showcasing Suspect’s surreal ability to quickly and smoothly toggle between back-breaking heaviness and catchy, ethereal groove-tinted riffing at the drop of a hat.
As Hate Obsession’s instrumentals are a fluid, dynamic mosaic of down-tempo destruction and contagiously catchy grooves, Suspect’s vocals are nothing but throat-shredding, mind-numbing hate. Suspect let loose with low, grimey and gritty vocals that tear at the listener’s ears like sandpaper and melt their mind like butter in a microwave. “Fall Off” is one track in which the vocals do anything but, ranging from a hefty, hearty mid-range shout to a low, gruff guttural, hitting pseudo-screeches and half-spoken rants in between. Suspect’s vocal variety is intriguing, because even as the vocalist’s style changes, the intensity remains constant, an oppressive force consistently bordering on overwhelming—without actually overpowering or up-staging the band’s immersive instrumental approach. Hate Obsession’s hair-raising screams are just as bitter, brooding and misanthropic as the EP’s grating, ruthless lows—at no point does the listener feel that Suspect’s vocalists veins are filled with anything but white-hot hatred and toxic, tepid aggression.
In order for Suspect to stand out beyond another nameless face in the heavy music game, they had to do something different—and they did. Best exemplified in the climactic, crushing breakdown in “Dispossession,” Suspect infuse their meaty, malicious beatdown and deathcore elements with metallic frenzy and doom-esque levels of overarching atmosphere. Where “Dispossession” sees the band’s fretwork become furious and frantic, “Deviant” focuses on the band’s raunchy, relentless drumming and bass work, just as “Fall Off” is a vocal gem the likes of which few “down-tempo” bands are capable of replicating. Are Suspect the lowest? No. Slowest? No. But they are among the most inventive when it comes to use of song structure and songwriting to give each song its own distinct flair that keeps the listener coming back for more—even if the listener can hardly describe why it is they’ve become so obsessed.
Before long, Suspect become the hate pumping through your veins—the fire in your eyes and the clenching in your gut. They are the adrenaline pouring forth from your adrenal cortex, forcing your heart to race and your pulse to quicken. Their unique blend of genres into a deathcore melting-pot is enough to bring out the worst in you—enough to make even Mother Theresa pick up a machete—and that is enough to make Hate Obsession something worth obsessing about.
For Fans Of: Bodysnatcher, Hater, Black Tongue, Beacons
By: Connor Welsh