Artist: Make Them Suffer
Album: Worlds Apart
Review by Steve Jenkins
It couldn’t have been totally surprising to see the backlash from some fans when Make Them Suffer dropped the single “Ether” last year. The track was a noticeable, if not night and day, departure from the flashy symphonic deathcore that was Neverbloom and Lord of Woe before it, 2015 saw the band take a huge leap of progression with the release of Old Souls. Instead of rampaging blast beats, there were simplified riffs and a greater emphasis on melody. Some greeted the shift with open arms, but others worried about what it would bring when album number three rolled around. Well, now that it’s arrived, Make Them Suffer seem to be on a trend of essentially reinventing themselves on each album, and they do a pretty good job of it too. While it’s not surprising that the new sounds were explored, it is a pleasant surprise to see how well it works out for them.
Worlds Apart sees Make Them Suffer move away from their deathcore roots to a more mature and creative approach, whilst still maintaining their signature heaviness. They've also done an extremely fine job of evolving their sound gradually since their successful debut album Neverbloom back in 2012. Not really losing fans along the way, but definitely gaining new listeners with their more accessible and progressive sound. One of my favourite things about Make Them Suffer, especially their new material, is the they can take a beautiful ethereal soundscape and accompany it with crushing guitars and ultra heavy music with groove and aggression.
So onto the music, never before have I heard Make Them Suffer sound so confident and comfortable with their new line-up, it's clear that they're happy with their dynamic sound. The album opener "The First Movement" is like throwing a bone to the audience that brought the band into the spotlight, with death metal riffs, blasting beats, and balls to the wall breakdowns. While other tracks like "Uncharted" and "Vortex" keep their familiar sound alive, it’s the newly trodden musical ground that really impresses. The melodic passages are a welcome reprieve from the aggressive attitudes Make Them Suffer usually peddle, and the clean singing from keyboardist and new addition to the band, Booka Nile, absolutely soars.
If you don't think that "Dead Plains" is one of the most savage songs they've ever made then there's something wrong with you, that track absolutely brutal. People that are worried that Make Them Suffer have departed from their heavy nature will be happy with this release, it pack a punch that's for sure, there's just more elements that make their music sound more interesting than stagnant deathcore. Frontman Sean Harmanis continues to impress, his voice truly is the vessel for the band and his range is executed wonderfully, displaying an array of emotion, raw energy and intensity that is quite remarkable. It's also brilliant to be able to hear the female vocals super clearly, the mixture of elegance and fury between Sean and Booka compliment each other in their own right, like on "Save Yourself", with the superb symphonic piano also being a focal point on the album.
Production wise, Worlds Apart is some of their best sounding material to date, it's tighter and more engaging than previous albums. I think that has a lot to do with the better song structure throughout these 10 tracks.
Make Them Suffer have harmonized the two sides of their sound in a fairly cohesive package. While some tracks crack the facade, their melodic side impresses enough that maybe, just maybe, fans will be clamoring for an expansion of that aspect rather than a desire to go back to their old sound. In any case, it at least proves that Make Them Suffer aren’t afraid to expand their sound, and that adventurous attitude at such a pivotal stage in their career has got to earn them something. We can only hope that this release will launch this innovative Perth band into new heights and further success, because they sure as hell deserve all of the attention that they're about to get.
8.5 out of 10 stars.
Worlds Apart is out July 28th via Rise Records.