Make Them Suffer – ‘How To Survive A Funeral’

By Dave Stewart

A few years ago, Make Them Suffer would’ve been a name that you associated with deathcore or death metal. The Aussie quintet quickly rose to prominence, largely due to the uncontrollable rage and punishment that was confined in their music, which they very slowly and smoothly began to evolve over time. The elements of their early days are still woven into their music but they’ve traded some of the fury for moments of elegance and allure, both juxtaposing and complimenting the darker side of their sound to create a sort of death-infused metalcore. Their brand new record ‘How To Survive A Funeral’ boldly displays that juxtaposition, twisting their past and present together to create something that is just as ominous as it is beautiful.

‘Step One’ serves as a small sample of what’s to come, introducing you to their newest form with just under two minutes of atmospheric passages, neck-breaking riffs, gut-wrenching drums and venom-fuelled vocals from front man Sean Harmanis. It feels like it’s over before it’s even begun but then suddenly, before you really get the chance to regain your composure, ‘Falling Ashes’ bursts into the fray. Immediately greeting you with intense blast beats from drummer Jordan Mather, the accompanying eerie guitar work of Nick McLernon sends tingles through your spine, switching between death metal ferocity and hardcore power at the flick of a switch to create an ever-changing monstrosity.

‘Drown With Me’ is a pendulous and devastating wrecking ball, overspilling with gargantuan riffs and blood-curdling vocals that seemingly grow in heaviness as the song plays out. ‘Fake Your Own Death’ follows a similar path and is the heaviest track on display here, complete with deathcore-styled riffage, countless pit-worthy breakdowns, hate-filled lyrics and gang chants that are begging to be screamed along to. ‘That’s Just Life’ is powered by classic Make Them Suffer riffs, shifting between effortless groove-ridden breakdowns and hauntingly beautiful passages as it builds towards the most impressive piece of guitar work on the entire record.

We already know they’re capable of devastating heavy moments. This element of the record is what we expected, and it’s just as fierce and feral as they’ve proven themselves to be capable of in the past. This barely scratches the surface of the band they’ve become, though, and that evolution becomes far more obvious as the record continues.

The title track ‘How To Survive A Funeral’ demonstrates their deathcore metalcore blend at its finest, balancing their relentless aggression with a truly serene and an uplifting chorus led by the atmospheric keyboard work and stunning vocals of Booka Nile. ‘Erase Me’ is an undeniable anthem with the biggest chorus of the album, structured like a pop song but swapping out the cookie-cutter softness for a metallic onslaught. ‘Soul Decay’ is dark and catchy powerhouse, ‘The Attendant’ is a poignant and ambient ballad, ‘Bones’ is a riff-heavy arena-sized colossus – there’s a bit of everything here, and it doesn’t sound out of place or odd for them in the slightest.

This album is great, but you already knew that it was going to be. Simply being from Australia meant this record was going to be good – bad bands from down under simply don’t exist. They’ve matured their sound so smoothly over the years that it sounds natural that this is where they’ve ended up.

‘How To Survive A Funeral’ is easily their most melodic work to date, but they haven’t skimped on the aggression at all. If you came here wanting a balls to the wall metal album, though, you won’t find it. If you came here as a fan of metalcore with an open mind, however, you’ll be jamming this record a lot. If you do sit in the former category, stick with it – the balance between light and dark will grow on you and the wait will be worth it. It’s a great listen beginning to end, the songs seemingly hitting harder and harder the more you revisit and allow yourself to sink into the atmosphere it creates. This record is a graceful step forwards by a band unafraid of change and we can’t wait to see what they do next.

DAVE STEWART

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