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Suicide Silence, live in London

Support: Thy Art Is Murder, Fit For An Autopsy, Black Tongue

Suicide Silence rolled into town last week for their biggest ever UK headlining tour. We knew it was going to be a big night of brutal fun. But what else did we discover?

The Early Bird Catches The Incredibly Promising Brit Upstarts

Hammer were here at Koko for Crossfaith the night before and got burnt by the early stage times. But not tonight, people! We’re here when most people are just leaving the office for the day to witness a healthy crowd turn up for a very impressive opening set from Hull’s Black Tongue. Quite what they are tuning their instruments to we can never really work out but, whatever that mystical key is, it’s heavy. So, SO heavy. And the circle pits and huge whoops and cheers that greet them throughout their set seem to agree that this is a band worth remembering for the future.

Suicide Silence Have Really Got Their Work Cut Out For Themselves

Fair play to SS for bringing an entire bill worth seeing out with them. After Black Tongue kick the party off in style Fit For An Autopsy continue the theme with a set if more traditionally-minded death metal. The crowd don’t seem as familiar with them as they were for the openers, but it’s not long before they are seduced by their blackened grinding, again; a band worth keeping an eye on. Of course then it’s time for the main support. Which is where most headliners would start quaking in their boots, because…

A Hell Of A Lot Of People Are Here To See Thy Art Is Murder

The roar that goes up from the, now jam packed, Koko when TAIM walk onstage would overwhelm that of most arena headlining bands. And it’s obvious that these Aussies have really tapped into something special. The crowd move and throb to their groovy and catchy, yet unbelievably extreme, death metal and you can’t help but get a tingle up your spine when the ENTIRE venue screams back the refrain from a seething rendition of The Purest Strain Of Hate. At the forefront of the chaos is CJ McMahon, a man with the potential to be the greatest death metal frontman ever. Big words, sure, but his combination of Glenn Benton’s threatening demonic growl mixed with a Phil Anselmo like ability to just stand stock still onstage and have the audience in the palm of his hand is eerie and awe-inspiring all at once. An incredible support slot.

No-one Is Upstaging Suicide Silence Tonight

You’d fear for a lot of bands after that. But the ease with which Suicide Silence rock up onstage and then tear the place apart is hugely admirable. Kicking off with a viscous Inherit The Crown it’s clear that they are in no mood to let a support band, even one as great as Thy Art Is Murder, dominate the evening. You can see why they were once considered leaders of the deathcore scene, and you can also see why they are the band that have left all the other chancers choking on their dust. Brutal as it is, this is proper heavy metal. And SS are a proper live metal band.

Eddie Hermida Is An Amazing Vocalist

You might have already known this one. After all, the new SS album You Can’t Stop Me is dominated by his acerbic tongue. But in the live setting it becomes clear just how much Hermida has brought to this band. His low-end grunts are impressive but his high-pitched screams could crack double glazing. You almost wonder if some of the noises he is making are actually human. It all leads to making Suicide Silence heavier, beefier and more extreme than ever. Add to the fact that Hermida is a very funny and likeable fellow in between songs and you’re looking at a band that are as good live now as they have been at any point of their career. That’s not to say that they have ripped up everything and started again…

Suicide Silence Are Not Trying To Forget Their Past

Obviously it’s been doubly heavy for Eddie to replace a singer as revered as the late Mitch Lucker. A man who still has legions of devotees to this very day. And Suicide Silence do a fine job of honouring Mitch and his legacy, whilst still looking to the future. When Hermida says for the first time “we’re going to take a look back now… I want you to wake up!” And the band kick into the song of the same name, Koko turns into absolute bedlam and the band capture the moment in a way their former frontman would have been proud of.

Rather than erasing all that’s gone before, Hermida embraces Lucker in small turns of phrase and allows the crowd to pay their respects by jumping into the throng and letting them take the mic for the mass chant along to the closing You Only Live Once. It’s actually a very emotional moment. And it’s in moments like this that you can see why Suicide Silence are so special. The music is completely brutal, the mosh pit is a frighteningly dangerous place to be, but there is a love and connection between band and fans that is all too rare these days. The past was great, but for Suicide Silence, on tonight’s evidence, the future is going to be a hell of a lot better.

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.