In my experience with extreme metal, deathcore seems to be one hell of an inconsistent genre. Although you'll occasionally come across a top-notch band like Born of Osiris, the overwhelming number of untalented and generic acts makes this style of music seem like a bit of a minefield. Suicide Silence are among the more popular bands on the modern deathcore scene - this album actually reached Number 28 on the U.S. Billboard Charts - so I figured now's as good a time as any to finally give this American act a shot. I'll say that right from the get-go, The Black Crown is a hell of a lot better than a lot of modern deathcore out there. It's clear that Suicide Silence are gifted musicians, and their technical sensibilities proove that they are far-distanced from the herds of talentless deathcore bands on the scene. The Black Crown falls into the trap of uninspired songwriting, generic riffs, and laughable lyrics, but this effort isn't quite as pathetic as I would've expected. I don't enjoy this one very much, but it could've been worse. If the band would get rid of the pointless breakdowns and stupid lyrics, The Black Crown could've easily been a much more impressive observation.
The music here is fairly standard deathcore, but the death metal influence tends to fortunately outweigh the hardcore influence. There are quite a few cool death metal riffs and melodic sections contained throughout The Black Crown, yet no single song is enjoyable from beginning to end thanks to the weak breakdowns. I wish the band would either focus on creating solid music without always building up to a formulaic breakdown, or at least put a bit more effort into making the breakdowns interesting - so many tracks are nearly destroyed by boring two-note grooves that offer nothing meaningful to the song itself. Even though the compositions may not be the most interesting things in the world, at least they are executed well. Suicide Silence are talented musicians... maybe that's why it's such a shame to hear them using this talent to play uninspired riffs matched with stupid lyrics. Songs like "You Only Live Once" and "Fuck Everything" contain lyrics that are laughable at best - repeating "fuck everything!" 100 times does not strike me as something particularly insightful or meaningful. Unfortunately, the generic and over-polished production doesn't make the music here seem any more inspired either.
If I had to briefly sum up Suicide Silence, I would say that they are technically outstanding musicians playing compositions that are too sterile and emotionless to even mildly pique my interest. As is this issue with far too many deathcore acts, the breakdowns are just boring as hell and anything else that is even slightly interesting never takes precedent in the actual songwriting. The Black Crown isn't a particularly terrible album - it has a few decent bits played by professional musicians - but it's far from anything worth more than just a couple of listens. I'd say a weak 2 stars are deserved here. This one is only recommended to big fans of deathcore.
1. Slaves to Substance (3:28)
2. O.C.D. (3:20)
3. Human Violence (3:48)
4. You Only Live Once (3:13)
5. Fuck Everything (4:34)
6. March to the Black Crown (1:31)
7. Witness the Addiction (5:32)
8. Cross-Eyed Catastrophe (3:25)
9. Smashed (3:07)
10. The Only Thing That Sets Us Apart (4:11)
11. Cancerous Skies (3:15)