“Deathcore? None of those bands can do what we do”: Suicide Silence had a point to prove to the haters, and with No Time To Bleed they rammed it home

Suicide Silence against a chain link fence in 2009
(Image credit: Press)

Suicide Silence were the poster boys for the late 2000s deathcore movement - something they increasingly hated. In this classic 2009 interview, late frontman Mitch Lucker explained just why his band were out to separate themselves from the deathcore pack with their second album, No Time To Bleed.

We are in the middle of another golden era for metal and its global community. That surge of renewed enthusiasm for real metal music with balls and soul that began at the start of this decade has continued way past the usual lifespan of a prevailing trend, and the result is an ongoing explosion of bands all vying for our attention as the volume inches upwards and the metal audience expands along with it. The only real problem with this relentless proliferation of new music is that sometimes it becomes hard to single out the truly great bands that have the talent, tenacity and temperament to survive in an increasingly cluttered and unstable marketplace. 

On the other hand, some bands make it easy for us. With nearly 300 shows under their collective belt since the release of their 2007 debut The Cleansing, California’s Suicide Silence have risen to the top of the extreme metal heap the hard way, garnering a huge global fanbase along the way and pulling purposefully away from the chasing pack of blank-eyed copyists that trail hopelessly in their wake. They are teetering on the brink of the kind of success that shouldn’t be possible for a band that play music as brutal as this. But some bands just have that elusive, inexpressible ‘it’ and you either go along for the ride or you don’t. It’s hard to imagine many people not being won over by No Time To Bleed, the second Suicide Silence album. Possibly one of the most exciting metal albums of the year so far, it’s a massive leap forward for a band that wear their ambition on their sleeves. 

“That’s all we want to do,” says frontman Mitch Lucker. “We want to push extreme music as far as it can go. With this record, we wanted to put ourselves outside of any box. We don’t want to be grouped with any dumb subgenres or anything like that. We just want to be a fucking metal band. A heavy metal band. We’re metal and we’re fucking heavy. That’s the bottom line. We did stuff on this record that no other band is going to do. We thought outside the box and we did things that other bands are afraid to do, and I think that’s what’s always going to define us. This is what Suicide Silence is all about.”

Mitch Lucker of Suicide Silence performing onstage in 2009

Suicide Silence’s Mitch Lucker onstage in London in 2009 (Image credit: Marc Broussely/Redferns)

Produced by renowned studio guru Machine, who has worked with Lamb Of God, Every Time I Die and Clutch among many others, No Time To Bleed is a bold statement from a band that have put themselves under pressure by defying the odds and becoming the most popular band to emerge from the MySpace death metal generation thus far. In fact, No Time To Bleed has far more in common with Pantera’s Far Beyond Driven or Slipknot’s All Hope Is Gone than it has with anything produced by any of Suicide Silence’s so-called ‘deathcore’ peers. For all its speed, intensity, aggression and rage, this is an album brimming with dynamics, sonic textures and fiendish invention. It is, as Mitch would have it, a very heavy, very metal and supremely confident piece of work.

“Absolutely, man, we all know it,” agrees Mitch. “Everyone’s really confident in the record. We were playing tons of new songs on the last tour we did and the reaction was insane. People were going crazier for the new songs than they were for some of the old songs. So everyone’s really confident and, no matter what, we’ve got some of the best fucking fans out there. I know they’re going to back us on this record because no one can say that this is a step in the wrong direction. This is us stepping outside of a shitty genre and stepping into what Suicide Silence really is. It’s 100 per cent our own sound.”

Formed in 2002 in the small Californian town of Riverside, when the band were all still in their teens, Suicide Silence have been ahead of the game from the very beginning. Raised on a diet of 90s metal, including everything from Korn, Deftones and Slipknot through to Suffocation and Deicide, the band’s trademark sound – a vicious but compelling blend of blasting death metal and sledgehammer grooves, all topped with Mitch’s astonishing arsenal of screams and growls – pre-empted the eruption of interest in full-on extreme metal that has prospered online and increasingly in the “real” world ever since. The problem for Suicide Silence is that they never really wanted to be considered part of a myopic scene. Witness the sheer ambition that drips from every riff and snare crack on No Time To Bleed, and you will understand why the mere mention of the word ‘deathcore’ sends Mitch Lucker into a state of apoplexy. 

“Fuck!” he spits. “I know why we’re associated with fuckin’ [dripping with contempt] deathcore, but at the same time I hate subgenres. Why create new names for shitty fucking music? Honestly, our sound comes from all our different influences. Everyone grew up listening to different things, and at the same time we all have exactly the same influences too. Everyone listens to Deftones, everyone listens to Slipknot, everyone listens to Suffocation. We’re a heavy metal band, know what I’m saying? Fuck deathcore. None of those bands can do what we do.”

Watch On

Alongside their loudly professed desire to move on and away from his band’s perceived origins, Mitch has also made a point of moving his own contribution to the band’s music forward into more mature territory. In contrast to the sensationalist and occasionally ludicrous lyrics on The Cleansing – ‘Pull the trigger, bitch!’ indeed… – the concepts and sentiments expressed on No Time To Bleed reveal a much more thoughtful, if no less enraged Mitch Lucker. 

“On Suffer there’s a line that says ‘A ruthless cleansing has already begun and it’s time to move on’,” says the singer. “That’s me saying that The Cleansing is done, it’s over with. That album was my blasphemous stab to piss people off, and Suffer is me saying that I’ve moved on.”

There’s no doubt that the last two years of constant touring have had a major effect on Suicide Silence, but it is perhaps Mitch who has felt that evolutionary process most acutely. Having become a father for the first time in the summer of 2007, Mitch has had his perspective on life altered and it’s that awakening that gives No Time To Bleed such raw potency. No longer just screaming into the void, Mitch now has passion and purpose.

“Being a father definitely gives me a different reason to wake up every morning,” he states. “Everything I do is for her now. This album is more personal. It’s more mature. It’s more me. Your Creations is about being a father. It’s about protecting your children, your creations, from any kind of harm. The last line is ‘To the heart that beats with my blood, I am your shield’.” 

Given the responsibilities and emotional intensity that parenthood brings, it must be difficult to be staring down the barrel of another two years on the road…

“It’s extremely hard, but if I wasn’t able to do this I wouldn’t be able to provide a place for us to live,” says Mitch. “I wouldn’t be able to provide food for my daughter. This is what supports her.”

Sometimes it’s obvious that a band is ready to make the leap from paying dues to reaping rewards, and although they’re a young band, Suicide Silence are at that point right now. All you have to do is decide if you’re going to join in the fun or snipe from the sidelines.

“Oh, there’s always haters!” laughs Mitch. “Haters love to hate, and that’s the bottom line. Haters smell success! Ha ha! But there’s a lot of lovers out there, and when you’ve got as many lovers as we have, you’re gonna get some haters too. Whatever. We couldn’t give a fuck. We’re never gonna stop.” 

Originally published in Metal Hammer 193

Dom Lawson

Dom Lawson has been writing for Metal Hammer and Prog for over 14 years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He also contributes to The Guardian, Classic Rock, Bravewords and Blabbermouth and has previously written for Kerrang! magazine in the mid-2000s.