“SUICIDE SILENCE is back to being Suicide Silence,” declares founding guitarist, Chris Garza. “It took years of hell to get here, but we’re better for it.” Indeed, the California quintet that put deathcore on the map (and installed themselves as a mainstay in modern extreme metal) has come full circle. They’re here to kill. With Remember…You Must Die. SUICIDE SILENCE has made a record that eschews the direction-shifts and compromises of their past and recaptured the fire that fueled 2007’s landmark debut, The Cleansing. It’s the sound of a band taking a long, hard look at their own legacy and pushing themselves to surpass it.
Cut to early 2021 and SUICIDE SILENCE was nothing short of hungry in the barely post-pandemic world. Regrouped, reinvigorated and reenergized, they were in a headspace of making a record, “as heavy as possible,” states guitarist Mark Heylmun. “That was the acronym in the writing sessions – H.A.P. We would ask ourselves, ‘Is it H.A.P.? Is it as heavy as possible?’ If a song or riff wasn’t, it wasn’t going to make the record.”
Recent years were more than a mere challenge; they were laden with the sort of obstacles that would have crushed most bands. However, SUICIDE SILENCE are far from “most bands,” enduring constant highs and lows over the past decade and pulling themselves out from the wreckage on multiple occasions.
They overcame the death of iconic vocalist Mitch Lucker in 2012, triumphed over tragedy with the addition of All Shall Perish growler Hernan “Eddie” Hermida for 2014’s aptly-titled You Can’t Stop Me; and survived fan backlash over 2017’s divisive self-titled LP, produced by Ross Robinson. Then, just when things started looking up with 2020’s return-to-form Become the Hunter, COVID-19 and the worldwide shutdown nearly stopped the band dead in its tracks.
The blunt force trauma of hitting that wall left SUICIDE SILENCE bloodied, backs up against a wall they were slowly sliding down, exhausted. However, feral instincts kicked in as bloodthirst invigorated. “It felt like we had the same sort of hunger and drive back when the band started touring in 2006,” says Hermida. “It took a pandemic, but we put our heads down and remembered what it was like to be a musician starving in your garage. It was good to realize that maybe we had become a little jaded as a band, but it was important to be real to ourselves and remember who we were.”
Remember…You Must Die is the SUICIDE SILENCE album the most fully captures the spirit of the band’s origins while proving themselves just as lethal a proposition as ever. It’s raw, immediate and in your face from the belligerent breakdowns of the opening title track to the loping, one-eyed riff of closer, “Full Void”. With their return “home” to Century Media, the label that SUICIDE SILENCE also released Mitch Lucker era classics including No Time to Bleed (2009) and The Black Crown (2011), it’s clear: things have come full circle for the California quintet.
Enter producer Taylor Young, known for his uncompromising studio work with countless hardcore and metal bands as well as being a multi-instrumentalist himself, playing with the likes of God’s Hate, Nails and Twitching Tongues. Recorded in the close confines of Young’s San Fernando Valley studio The Pit Recordings, the verve of tracks like “Capable of Violence (N.F.W.)”, “Fucked For Life” or “Kill Forever” is undeniable. “Taylor understood us in a way no producer has since we did The Cleansing with John Travis,” says Garza of the album famously recorded live off the floor. “There’s a deep connection with Taylor that we didn’t even know, playing shows together in bands locally when Mitch first joined the band. How he records is infused with honesty. That goes back to what SUICIDE SILENCE is. Taylor Young is as no-bullshit as it gets.”
Part of SUICIDE SILENCE’s recharge is down to the addition of new drummer Ernie Iniguez, a longtime friend of the band who made his recording debut on Become the Hunter. “I feel like Ernie was the magic ingredient that pushed this record over the top,” says Hermida. “He came at it from a fan’s standpoint, from a hungry musician’s standpoint. He also injected that hunger into us, which was good to have again because I feel like I had lost that at one point.”
Long held under the shadow of Mitch Lucker and the scrutiny of fans, Remember…You Must Die is also Hermida’s reckoning moment and most visceral performance since his joining the band in 2013. There’s no mistaking the desperate snarl, squeal and growl at the center of SUICIDE SILENCE’s sonic maelstrom. “The vocal sessions were just energetic and fast, which had a lot to do with working with Taylor,” says Hermida. “This is the most straight-to-the-point record that we’ve done since I’ve been in the band. It’s straight-up heavy deathcore, no fucking rules, no regulations—kiss our fuckin’ asses!”
SUICIDE SILENCE started life in 2002, in the same Riverside, CA, garage behind Chris Garza’s parent’s house that the band practices in today. The goal was as simple as it is today: “We wanted to play the heaviest music possible and play the biggest shows possible,” Garza recounts. “Bringing together elements of hardcore, death metal and nu metal in a way that hadn’t been done before.” Releasing a six song self-titled EP on a local label, the band hit the road and never looked back. Solidifying a line-up that included bassist Dan Kenny and recently-departed drummer Alex Lopez, SUICIDE SILENCE signed with Century Media and toured the world relentlessly. They became a force to be reckoned with on the back of 2007’s wildly successful debut LP The Cleansing, incendiary sets on Mayhem and Download festivals, and worldwide tours with the likes of Job for a Cowboy, Parkway Drive, A Day to Remember and The Acacia Strain. After launching deathcore on Warped Stages and Hot Topic T-shirt racks, SUICIDE SILENCE was awarded the “Revolver Magazine Golden God” award for “Best New Talent” in 2009.
At no point has deathcore’s extremity retained zeitgeist had more traction than now. In the Spring of 2022, SUICIDE SILENCE co-headlined deathcore’s coming of age tour, “Chaos & Carnage”, throughout North America with longtime scene vets Carnifex, while playing OG ambassadors to exploding labelmates Lorna Shore, Signs of the Swarm and Distant. With the likes of Whitechapel, Shadow of Intent and Brand of Sacrifice rapidly becoming the new face of extreme metal, SUICIDE SILENCE has emerged the ravenous godfathers of their genre. “Deathcore wasn’t exactly a revered genre for many years,” says Heylmun of deathcore’s Myspace era origins. “SUICIDE SILENCE, Carnifex, Despised Icon stuck with it and are now seeing our influence on younger bands who are becoming the face of the genre. Hearing our sound trickle into other bands proves to me that we put a small dent in heavy metal, and that’s pretty badass.”
When SUICIDE SILENCE hits the stage now it’s with the confidence of seasoned players firing on all cylinders. While the recent past has been rocky, it’s those bumps, scrapes, left turns and near-trainwrecks that have brought the quintet back to the lethal riff machine they were and are once again. Garza credits the maligned Ross Robinson album and its slower, more experimental take on SUCICIDE SILENCE’s sound as a necessary step towards Remember…You Must Die. “Resets are necessary, not just in music but in human beings, and at that point we needed a reset,” asserts the guitarist. “At the time, had we written another standard deathcore record, the band would have been worse-off for it. We took a step back and tried to find ourselves, so that when we came back to what people consider our ‘core’ sound, it’s really SUICIDE SILENCE. On a very deep level, Ross Robinson brought out an honesty that you really hear now. I don’t think many bands would have had the balls to do that.”
Make no mistake, that unflinching sense of self-analyzation is at the core of Remember…. You Must Die. For all its reminted aggression, songs like “Alter of Self” or “The Third Death” speak to the mindset of SUICIDE SILENCE two decades deep. “We started doing this super young and had a boom of success at a young age,” says Heylmun. “That was over a decade ago. We’ve experienced life and death throughout our career. What I think has happened with all of us is that we’ve experienced mortality and realized how short this life really is. Pretty unintentionally, that became the theme and core to this record.”
If anything, time hasn’t taken its toll on SUICIDE SILENCE. It’s made the five guys who started out as kids in a garage in California’s Inland Empire even more resolute. In 2022, the message is as sharp as the music. Remember…. you must LIVE.