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If the Deftones would constantly have two guitar players on duty, this would be it. Welcome! Grab a chair, lean back, and get ready to enjoy a good piece of art. Just as if you were about to drink great wine but with just a little bit of cork aftertaste. Whether the latter is pleasing or not lies in the ''mouth'' of the beholder (or ear, to be more precise).
The Maturing of Sound
Make Them Suffer has not always been a band with a strong mindset, as Neverbloom (2012, Roadrunner Records) displays quite well. Their evolution from depressive to pushing was quite the jump, even with their second record Old Souls (2015, Self Release) in between albums.
First, let's have a little #TB with Neverbloom. Nature has always been a major component to build MTS's lyrical skeleton. Throughout their first album, the protagonist usually appears to be lonely and destructive, and all the love they could give could never truly be given to anyone. A passion which was never meant to bloom, hence the title. The ring of it alone makes you feel deeply already, but have an outtake of their lyrics...
"I would have showed you the world, as it was in my dreams. I would have dropped everything. And for those nights when we wept for the moon, I would have died for the spring. [...] We could have had so much more. I'll keep singing songs to the birds, until you return."
The tristesse in the vocalist's voice, the poetic lyrics, and the heavy guitar mixed in with the lonely piano are chilling.
Second, Old Souls is the bigger, more mature, but also harder hitting brother. This album is brutally honest and is built around a concept where the protagonist revisits memories and tells tales with nature not playing as much of a role. Some of the ideas from Neverbloom continue here, though the sound is rather progressive and not as Black Metal influenced. Hence, much of the melancholy was lost, in exchange for sometimes un-creative Metalcore chunkiness. But, the vocalist remains to be the same poetic lyricist.
Onward! A new world awaits...
Imagine yourself sitting under a tree and watching the sun set during a nice, early summer night, reminiscing over childhood fantasies, and over-all just feeling content and satisfied with where you stand in life. It's not always been easy, but you know you deserve feeling this. Though you're aware that this feeling will pass, you don't let it bother you. Because you've grown stronger through all the hardship and the shit. You're saying goodbye to negativity (for the most part), and you're taking on a new stance. A hopeful one.
Worlds Apart by Make Them Suffer was released this year via Rise Records, and it's their third full-length record. With ethereal, glistening synth sounds and Metalcore orientated catchy guitar-play and Deftones-y dreaminess, the Australian band managed to create a positively themed record in a scene which is dominated by negativity. This record is strong and emotional, adventurous and committed, brave and self-conscious.
Lyrically and vocally, this is a new field for vocalist Sean Harmanis, as his soothingly tragic writing took a step back and has been replaced by a motivating, pushing and honest text, symbolically, fire replaces ice. Though, the old material does re-appear on ''Dead Plains'' and occasionally on other songs (see ''Save Yourself''), basically all of the other songs have a rather energetic, aggressive, or positive tone and vibe to them. Have a look...
"We're going to burn it to the ground. And we'll be surfing on the sun. Let's see them try and stop us now. Let's watch them burn."
Again, Nature plays a key element, emphasizing on the poetic lyrical style. Not endless wasteland and stormy heights, but beautiful night skies and passionate flames reign instead. In addition, it's become apparent that the years have been taking their toll on Sean's voice. His growls are very few and sometimes sound more like mumbles and awkward grunts. Yet on ''Vortex'', he shows much ability and vocal strength against the odds. In spirit of the concept behind the album. Furthermore, he's worked on his heights, which sound devastating on ''Grinding Teeth'' (also a good example for those weird lows). The occasional cleans by Louisa Burton, who plays synth as well, add to the atmospherics quite well, though they're nothing exceptional.
As for the instrumentals, mostly, extreme speed has been replaced by appealing catchiness. This is very apparent on the track ''Uncharted'' in opposition to the song ''Neverbloom''. Some of the riffage reminds of early Nu-Metal , like on ''Grinding Teeth'' during the chorus. Overall, the guitar sound is very pleasing, as are the drums. Yet, there is a sense of overproduction and unnecessary extra that I can't shake off. The guitars sound a little too screechy when they hit a peek on certain songs. This is the case on ''Power Overwhelming'', which is why I don't like the song as much as I want to, because the squeaky synth has a distinctive groove to it, assisting the guitar quite well.
Change is the only constant.
Make Them Suffer has evolved much as a band, displaying high flexibility in the modern metal world. With them coming out with an unsigned album before, Worlds Apart itself is no wonder. They had to grind their teeth and pass through the vortex in order to get to where they are now. One thing is clear: their passion for music is unyielding, and I hope that they stay on course for the future.