Album Review: MAKE THEM SUFFER - How To Survive A Funeral
Artist: Make Them Suffer
Album: How To Survive A Funeral
Review by Anthony Melbourne
Perth’s Make The Suffer have gone from strength to strength since their inception in 2008, despite line-up changes that would cripple a lesser band, their sound has continued to evolve - beginning their career with Blackened and Symphonic tinged Deathcore with their 2012 debut ‘Neverbloom’ before incorporating more Progressive and Metalcore elements and soaring clean vocal melodies into their sound with 2015's follow-up ‘Old Souls’ and ramping it up with the release of 2017’s critically acclaimed ‘Worlds Apart’.
The thing that sets MTS apart is their very tasteful use of synths and piano as well as utilizing Sean Harmanis’ impressive vocal range juxtaposed with Booka Nile’s angelic cleans providing a rich and unique sound in a scene that has otherwise felt stale and formulaic in recent years, not to mention Nick McLernon’s furious riffage backed up by Jaya Jeffery’s thundering bass and Jordan Mather’s tight and meticulous percussion, Make Them Suffer have proven that they are force to be reckoned with.
For their much anticipated forth record, entitled 'How to Survive a Funeral', Make Them Suffer enlisted none other than Drew Fulk a.k.a. WZRDBLD - who has handled production duties for Metalcore heavyweights Motionless In White, Beartooth & Bullet For My Valentine as well as hip-hop luminaries Yelawolf & Lil’ Wayne to help them capture what could truly be their 'Master Of Puppets' or 'White Album' if you will. The growth in the few years of heavy touring since their last release is immediately evident and the band have clearly come out the other side with some fresh sounds to add to their already stacked bag, while still showcasing their trademark down-tuned heaviness, the song writing on display here is a considerable leap forward - assimilating Pop and Post Hardcore elements that bring a brightness to their arrangements while still retaining hints of the melancholy wall-of-noise of their Blackened and Death Metal roots.
The record begins on a sombre note with the short intro track ‘STEP ONE’ with the opening vocal line “SPEAK FROM YOUR HEART” - which serves as the mission statement of sorts for the record accompanied by a bone shattering breakdown leading into ‘FALLING ASHES’, with a harsh tremolo riff and frantic blast beats that would make Emperor proud - showcasing their sheer heaviness and aggression while still maintaining a groove that keeps you moving before slowing right down with an ominous synth heavy passage, luring you into a false sense of security, then blasting your eardrums one last time before ‘BONES’ kicks in with its rhythmic Progressive/Djent inspired groove and a guttural roar, “I CAN'T BREATHE!”, building into a powerful piano and chord driven chorus showing off Harmanis’ vocal range with some great lyrics - “Shed my skin, take me from my home, I give all I am, I give all I own. Shed my skin, steal my heart again, take from me my bones”, this song will surely be a staple in their live set for years to come.
‘DROWN WITH ME’ is a mid-paced banger with solid grooves and guitar bends that build into an anthemic chorus showing off the brightness I mentioned earlier with well-placed piano and strings that has an almost Ballad like feel to it finishing it off with an absolutely monstrous half time breakdown. ‘ERASE ME’ begins with a calming piano intro before blasting your eardrums once again with lightning fast Blackened assault and apocalyptic blast beats, switching to Melodic Death inspired riffage, that harkens back to Metalcore’s glory days, and yet another beautifully anthemic chorus with some really powerful and emotionally charged lyrics - “But you're waiting patiently for something worth saving, I've broken you enough so don't hate me. But you're waiting patiently for something worth saving. Erase me”.
The latest single ‘SOUL DECAY’ is sure to be a crowd favourite, with its mosh heavy riffs and tight grooves, again demonstrating MTS’s affinity for catchy yet crushingly heavy song writing, this song hits incredibly hard not only for its instrumentation but the subject matter of its lyrics - Conjuring up images of the dark side of addiction and watching someone you love succumbing to the pitfalls of that lifestyle (that is my take away from them anyway..).
‘FAKE YOUR OWN DEATH’ is easily one of if not THE heaviest track on the album, showing us that MTS is still very capable of writing an absolutely ruthless Deathcore banger - full of breakdowns and in your face pissed off aggression & attitude. The lyrics are straight forward and angry as fuck, I get an old school Slipknot vibe at times in this song which I’m all about. If this song doesn’t get the mosh lords moving then I don’t know what will. When this song comes on, I’ll see you in the pit.
The title track ‘HOW TO SURVIVE A FUNERAL’ opens with a discordant, chaotic riff that that writhes and wails with an almost Southern Rock fury - bearing a slight resemblance to early Norma Jean, before slowing right down and seamlessly transitioning into an piano led section without losing any of its intensity or momentum, led by Booka Nile singing - “You barely knew us. You were out of touch, out of touch for so long. You filled the room up. And none of us knew we cared 'til you're gone”.
‘THE ATTENDANT’ takes a step away from the heaviness with this slow Deftones-esque masterpiece, with flourishes of piano accentuating the chord driven riffs and allows Harmanis to shine bright with an impassioned vocal performance beautifully harmonized with Nile the lyrics are melancholic & self-reflective; dealing with self-doubt and depression (again, my take away from it), this song seems quite far removed from the rest of the album sonically, but is in fact a culmination of the quieter moving parts of their arrangements forming a cohesive piece resulting in an absolutely powerful song that is one of my favourite songs on the record.
If we haven’t learned our lesson by now, it’s too never underestimate Make Them Suffer’s ability to take its audience by surprise by throwing a curveball with it’s final track, ‘THAT’S JUST LIFE’, with its electronic drum beat intro like a thumping pulse, getting the blood pumping again after slowing it down to a crawl - we are greeted once again by the “heavy” MTS. Groove laden riffs and bouncy rhythms, bleeding into an earth shattering breakdown, synth infused clean vocal passages and fretboard traversing guitar solo brings this beast of an album to a close, leaving you breathless and wondering what the fuck just happened. After listening to this album a few times, its many twists and turns still come as a surprise.
A common theme of this record I feel is the concept of growth, and this album shows much growth, not just as musicians but as songwriters, and of course as people – no longer obsessed with just writing the heaviest record or song as possible for the sake of it, but crafting a work of art. And this album is just that. Make Them Suffer have created something incredibly special. They should be very proud. And you should listen to it.
How To Survive A Funeral is available now digitally via Greyscale Records. Physical releases will be available from July 10th.