A band still heading for the top of their game

Western Australia’s Make Them Suffer have slowly been plugging away on the varied Australian heavy music scene for almost a decade now, at times taking risks with a very static sounding heavy music that has earned them their fair share of both critical acclaim and scene knockers who never like to see a band do well.

Hard to believe it has been three years since Make The Suffer managed to take everything they learned and create the excellent Worlds Apart that drew worldwide attention. Have they managed to excel themselves with this newest album, or has the weight of expectation drawn heavily on them?

Atmospheric album lead ins are the route de rigour in most forms of metal and hardcore; Step One is no different. A low keyboard hum introduces a speaker crackle before a clean guitar riff worthy of The Butterfly Effect washes over the listener, all coming to an abrupt end as vocalist Sean Harmanis makes his presence known and the chaos officially begins.

Bones’ undeniable nu-metal inspired groove will get even the most hardened moving. Always willing to attempt something different with their music and vocal approach, Harmanis turns his hand to clean singing. While unexpected, it isn’t bad at all. I was under the impression it was someone else in the band or a guest, so colour me surprised in a good way.
Booka Nile’s angelic cleans wait until Drown With Me to be pushed to the fore to break up the heavy vocals of Harmanis in a manner that was used to such great effect on their previous album. Musically swirling and heavy, switching back on itself, allowing her vocals to quickly become the focal point. This also explored on Erase Me, although it isn’t as heavy the tracks that came before it.

Soul Decay shows just how much the band has begun to change musically. Still heavy, it has the beginnings of something like when Bring Me The Horizon started to move away from their more death-like elements into a beast of an entirely different kind. It’s a change that’s difficult to describe, even more so when it is followed up with the album’s heaviest tracks, Fake Your Own Death. The feeling really shows its face on The Attendant. Here Make Them Suffer let Nile’s vocals and clean input from Harmanis drift away in a manner they have barely pointed at before, sounding like something UK wunderkids Loathe might throw away more than once.

All is well in the world again as MTS go straight for the throat on album closer That’s Just Life, with its EDM breakdown in the middle showing further experimentation when it isn’t expected. Although the lyrics reads like a pity party, that isn’t what is to be taken away from this album: it is about personal empowerment, dropping all the baggage in one’s life and being better for it. This is a band still heading for the top of their game and celebrating in a way they enjoy.

1. Step One
2. Falling Ashes
3. Bones
4. Drown With Me
5. Erase Me
6. Soul Decay
7. Fake Your Own Death
8. How to Survive A Funeral
9. The Attendant
10. That’s Just Life