Suicide Silence

support Deez Nutz + Venom Prison
author MAK date 24/03/17 venue Koko, London, UK

After such negative responses from critics and fans alike on the recently released, self-titled "Suicide Silence" album, there was always an intrigue of what the attendance would be like on the tour that would be promoting the release. My question was answered quickly as it was apparent that the top two tiers of London’s Koko were closed to the punters due to lack of sales. Two and a half years prior to the evening, EL covered the deathcore act at the same 1400 capacity venue, in which it was packed out with an electric atmosphere (reviewed here). It was quite the opposite in 2017, where there was more of a sense of anxiety and curiosity if anything, especially as moments before the first band hit the stage there were no more than 50 people in the venue.

All photos courtesy of Lauren Harris

The Venom Prison

Kicking the night off was British death metallers, Venom Prison. Their brand of brutality kicked in quickly with intense blast beats and shredding riffs fronted by throat tearing screams from vocalist Larissa Stupar. It was an attack on all senses as the music violated your ears and the flashing strobe lights ambushed your vision, much to the dismay of any photographer. Throughout the set, Venom Prison unleashed an array of crunchy grooves and an attitude that invited violence. Though, as an opening set, it expectedly wasn’t quite met with the energetic response the band would have hoped for.

Venom Prison

The lack of audience size didn’t help. Over the course of the set, the crowd grew, but it was stilly very patchy and stagnant. While the music was brutal and absolutely “in your face”, the death metallers didn’t help themselves with their lack of crowd interaction. In fact, the band didn’t stop once and it was hard to tell where one song ended and another started. Maybe this continuous play is their shtick, but I felt it had a negative effect on the crowd. The only breaks as such where subtle melodic instrumental segments. It was obvious that the still crowd needed a command of some sort to react to. To my surprise, once this half hour of musical onslaught was over, the crowd erupted in huge applause and cheers as the band left the stage. Musically the band was solid, performance and sound absolutely bullied our senses, but the set left a lot to be desired. I can see the hype around this band, though.

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Deez Nuts

Deez Nuts followed up as the oddest booking decision I’ve seen in a while. Having a bouncy rap fronted hardcore band sandwiched between a death metal band and a deathcore band just didn’t sit right on paper. Yet somehow the Aussie quartet made it work, sort of. The crowd had doubled in the break between bands and there was a decent amount of fans up for partying with Deez Nuts. The set was catered a little towards a heavier crowd as the Australians opened with popular bruiser “Word” before rolling swiftly into “Popular Demand”. Frontman JJ Peters usually leaves the “NANANA” sing-along segment for the crowd, though he performed it himself in the realisation that not many people would sing the come shout out back to him.

Deez Nuts

Just a couple of songs into the set and the pits opened, and they gradually became more vicious the heavier the songs got. One massive plus to this set was that Peters talked to the crowd between songs, making sure they were having fun. The frontman isn’t shy of showmanship in the slightest. We were treated to a couple new hard-hitting tracks, “Purgatory” and “Commas & Zeros” from the soon to be released album “Binge & Purgatory”, both of which were well received. Towards the end of the set popular hits “Shot After Shot” and “Your Mother Should Have Swallowed You” had the pits flowing in a wild manner. It helps that the latter is one of Deez Nuts’ angriest anthems with bold insulting intentions. This was an entertaining set, but it was far from matching the nearly flawless performances that the Australians have delivered in recent years. Wrong tour for them to really thrive at their best.

7

Suicide Silence

I still hold on to my statement that “Suicide Silence” isn’t a bad album, I actually quite enjoyed It. In respects to my opinion of the release, it’s rather shocking to see how empty the venue was for when the band appeared on stage. Out of a possible 1400 people, perhaps a maximum 400 people were collectively on the floor and the first balcony. Those who were in attendance were highly positive from the start though as Suicide Silence launched into “Doris”, the opinion-dividing first single from the new album. Frontman Eddie Hermida performed the track with conviction, switching between vicious shouts to revealing his singing talents live. It worked well and the crowd rocked out hard to the crunchy riffs and aggressive atmosphere. Technical issues meant that Hermida had to delay while teasingly shouting “No Pity” repeatedly. This signalled the start of Suicide Silence favourite “No Pity For A Coward”. The pits restarted in a brutal manner and the crowd were shouting along during the bridge to the words “PULL THE TRIGGER BITCH”. The noticeable feat is no matter how much effort the crowd put into the shout outs, they were barely audible over the brutish chugs and hard hitting atmosphere. It felt weird because that song just a couple of years prior had deafening crowd chants at the Koko.

Suicide Silence

Another new track, “Silence” had a phenomenal reaction to start off with. A sea of headbangs flooded the floor to the galloping heavy riffs. But then that was nothing compared to the violent pits during the classics, such as “Unanswered” and “Wake Up”. Once again the chants for “WAKE UP, WAKE UP” weren’t quite up to scratch. The tone of this set didn’t feel like a headline set, the lack of crowd and the basis on how quiet they were compared to previous times made this set feel like Suicide Silence were the support act to someone bigger. That’s not to say they crowd weren’t on form and the band weren’t trying. One of the guitarists just had to raise his arms and the crowd would cheer, or he’d start a mass clap segment. Hermida would egg on the crowd to be louder and he’d get everyone to raise their finger for “Fuck Everything”. The effort was there.

One of the set’s highlights came in the build up to “Disengage”. The crowd divided to enact a wall of death, and Hermida teased the usual few that would dance around in the mass space left by the split. The chugs for the song started and the eagerness to go was strong. On the frontman’s mark, the crowd erupted into chaos. Moments like that saved the set, slightly. It was the older tracks that had the best reaction, as expected, but the new songs had their moments and they gave the set a much needed break from all out brutality. “Dying In A Red Room” is the Deftones-influenced track from the new album and some of the crowd seemed to dig it and they swayed along to the ballad-like atmosphere unleashed from the stage. For the end of “Hold Me Up Hold Me Down”, Hermida climbed on top of a speaker stand and jumped into the crowd, in which he was pretty much surrounded by people. He waded through a torrent people wanting to get on the microphone as he proceeded to scream at the top of his lungs.

Suicide Silence

Suicide Silence finished the set with “You Only Live Once” the band’s anthem for the last few years and the chaos that had flowed through the whole set was capitalised with the final track. As a whole, the set wasn’t up to scratch to any of the previous sets I’ve seen them at over the years. When you compare this evening to the last show at the Koko, this one was highly underwhelming. It is a dramatic decline for a band that was considered a leader in deathcore. It appears that plenty of people have been quick to give up on a band that made the album they wanted to make, which is a shame. I wonder how different this event would have been if it was a month before the album release instead of a month after. I also wonder why the show wasn’t downsized if the album sales were that bad. Having a half empty venue was certainly a mood killer and it stopped this from being a great show.

7

Setlist:

  • 1. Doris
  • 2. No Pity For A Coward
  • 3. Silence
  • 4. Unanswered
  • 5. Wake Up
  • 6. Sacred Words
  • 7. Listen
  • 8. Fuck Everything
  • 9. Disengage
  • 10. Dying In A Red Room
  • 11. Hold Me Up, Hold Me Down
  • 12. You Only Live Once

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