Sound — 5
Suicide Silence are one of the better-known bands that tout the ambivalence-laden label of deathcore music. With their first two albums, "The Cleansing" and "No Time to Bleed," earning recognizable success on the Billboard charts, the California-based quintet helped put the niche fusion genre on the metal world's radar, for better or for worse. Their third album, "The Black Crown," would achieve even more commercial success, though the responses to the album were mixed: some commended Suicide Silence for attempting to branch out of the narrow and intense deathcore sound, while others felt that taking a step away from that intense sound was a bad call. This squabble would later end up being retired a year later when the tragic news came about that the band's frontman, Mitch Lucker, had died in a motorcycle accident. As fans gave their moments of silence and grieved, they duly felt unease as to the future of Suicide Silence, if there would even be one. After recruiting former All Shall Perish vocalist Eddie Hermida to take Lucker's role, Suicide Silence would not only continue on, but their next work would pay proper tribute to their deceased bandmate; and what better way to do that then to name the album after the last song Lucker had written before his death, "You Can't Stop Me."
Suicide Silence comes out guns blazing in the first two full tracks "Inherit the Crown" and "Cease to Exist," with guitarist Mark Heylmun showing off his chops with some exceptional guitar solos, and drummer Alex Lopez throwing in some well-desired blastbeat here and there. "Sacred Words" takes it down a gear, evoking something more along the lines of melodic metalcore, but the following track, "Control," which features the renowned George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher of Cannibal Corpse, brings the energy back like a twister. However, it's after this point that the album begins to noticeably drag. With the next few songs succumbing to an overdose of guitar chugging and not much else to pique interest (not even the guest vocals by The Dillinger Escape Plan's Greg Puciato is able to redeem "Monster Within"), by the time you reach "We Have All Had Enough," one may be saying the same thing in regards to the album. It's not until "Ending Is the Beginning" that the album gets another breath of fleeting deathcore back in its lungs, but this is because the track is actually a re-recording of a Suicide Silence track from their debut self-titled EP - the fact that a re-recorded classic ends up being more palatable than nearly half of the new material provided on the album says a lot. The final two tracks don't show any more improvement, and while "Ouroboros" attempts some lower-gear, melody-filled sections to fulfill the role as a somber closer, given the decline of the latter half of the album, it instead goes out with a whimper.
Lyrics — 6
suicide Silence waste little time getting into the subject matter about Lucker's death, and as the intro track "M.A.L." pays a wordless tribute to Lucker, "Inherit The Crown" has Hermida screaming a eulogic first verse regarding Lucker and all but directly addressing carrying the torch where Lucker left off. Hermida further flexes his efforts to make Lucker proud in "You Can't Stop Me," which features lyrics written by Lucker; and with the hook containing the chorus "If you're reckless and free, speak up and sing this with me/we're all f--king free," it's all too chilling to know that this ode to reckless abandon would be Lucker's posthumous swan song. While "You Can't Stop Me" is primarily about paying their respects to Lucker, the lyrics throughout the album don't exclusively harp on this one topic, and plenty of other songs on the album are business as usual - though that business is serving up baseless rage-mongering, like in "Cease to Exist," "Warrior" and "We Have All Had Enough." And perhaps it's because these anger-driven lyrics feel so cookie cutter that makes the songs with more positive lyrics the more interesting ones. "Sacred Words" serves as a substantial atheist theme song, which threads the needle between an empowering uplifter and a metal-worthy rager, and "Don't Die" is all about Suicide Silence advocating for the catharsis of their fans, which includes the literal-as-much-as-figurative line "I will show you a pit of redemption," which is surely intended to come in the physical form of a mosh-pit.
Overall Impression — 5
"You Can't Stop Me" is a valuable album for Suicide Silence. Clearly being the dedicated sendoff for their deceased bandmate, even the title alone is remarkably equivocal: it puts Lucker's final written sentiments front and center, it describes the band's refusal to be put into early retirement after the tragedy (Lucker would probably want the band to keep going), and it also addresses those that were put off by the previous album, "The Black Crown" (though that seems to be a miniscule interpretation in comparison). However, musically speaking, it's not up to snuff. The album shows promise in the first 15 minutes, and it's an uptick from "The Black Crown," but it doesn't reinitiate the raw power of Suicide Silence's early work- the work that wielded the boisterous vigor that branded them as "deathcore," let alone a deathcore band worth keeping an eye on - nor does it fill that void with anything new and interesting. And with this year unofficially being the "year of deathcore," which has brought forth solid records from other notable deathcore bands like Carnifex, Whitechapel, and Chelsea Grin, "You Can't Stop Me" unfortunately pales in comparison.