VERSUS: Suicide Silence vs. Same Difference

VERSUS: Suicide Silence vs. Same Difference

Welcome to Versus. The series where we look at two albums in metal history, compare them to each other, to see which one was the better record.

In this edition of Versus, we are diving back into the murky and choppy waters of unpopular albums. Today's matchup features two bands that took their sound into new musical directions, some would say jarring the fanbases and have become black marks in these band's discographies. One band, going into a more nu-metal sound, away from the deathcore sound that made them famous. The other, a band that completely left death metal behind to go into a more grunge/alternative sound that was a shock to many metalheads. Buckle up fans, this one is going to be "interesting" as these bands step into the ring in this matchup I'm calling "A Misdirection in Redirection"

In this corner, we have deathcore leaders Suicide Silence with their 2017 self-titled album. Their second album on Nuclear Blast, the album would garner criticism from the fanbase for changing up the band's legendary deathcore sound to focus more on a 90's nu-metal sound. Featuring the band being nicknamed "tee-hee core" made popular by YouTuber Jared Dines, due to a line in the album's opening song. It was also criticized for including clean vocals, which hadn't appeared on the band's previous albums to that point. Is this album really THAT bad as the fans claim it to be? Was it a colossal misstep to the band's deathcore legacy?

The album opens with the lead single from the album "Doris". Opening with an almost bluesy, Ted Nugent like guitar wail, into a gritty and heavy opening guitar riff with blasting double beats behind it. Vocalist Hernan "Eddie" Hermida's piercing shriek kicks in and it sounds like a hardcore/deathcore amalgamation of a riff. Then the chorus kicks in. The clean vocals are a little jarring, almost shocking the listener, like going from Deicide to Deftones. Then the song goes back to the brutal, deathcore sounding riff on the verse section. It is such an odd mixture to go from brutal and heavy to emotional and nu-metal. The combo of Alex Lopez's drumming and Dan Kenny's bass on the bridge is so eerie and dark, as it transitions to a musical break that sounds straight from a 90's nu metal record. With wailing guitar effects, pulsing drums and then the music dropping and rising, the song ends with a chugging and heavy as hell breakdown.

The next song "Silence" has a chugging, almost groove-tinged sound to the palm muted riff of the opening. Guitarists Mark Heylmun & Chris Garza play around with their effects pedals in the verse's main riff before the song picks up into the chorus. Growl vocals do show up at certain parts, but Hermida's clean vocals are all over the place. Moments sounding like Chino Moreno of Deftones, Josh Homme of Queens of The Stone Age, and Jonathan Davis of KoRn. As the listener, part of me has a feeling of "pick a lane and stick with it" with the vocal performance. "Listen" has a nice pinch harmonic opening riff with screaming vocals into the verse.  The song is leaning towards the deathcore sound the band is known for, with more screaming and chugging guitars, in between the clean vocals and grimy nu-metal guitar tone.

Then comes "Dying in A Red Room", a VERY nu-metal sounding song, where you can HEAR the Deftones influence on this track. Musically, I do like the song actually. Its brooding, vocals are clean and have direction, the riff is very atmospheric and drums are perfectly done with the right punch and accents at the right time. Although, deep down, it almost sounds like Suicide Silence covering the Deftones and not an original song from Suicide Silence, which I think hurts the track's feel, attitude and the band's performance. On "Hold Me Up, Hold Me Down", the opening scream from Hermida hits so hard with piercing precision, along with the chugging down-tuned riff. The energy of the song is strong, with the eeriness of the lead guitar behind the chugging guitar creates that nostalgic nu-metal cliché popular in a lot of songs of the time. Hermida's screams, growls and cries fit the song, along with the gurgling, almost slap-style bass by Kenny makes it one of the stronger songs of this band's direction with the album. Even featuring a nice, chug heavy deathcore breakdown with gutturals at around the halfway mark with blast beats.

"Run" has the sound and energy of the first Soulfly record. With the carnal yell from Hermida, that stereotypical chuggy riff and drums, into a slowed down verse section. The build of the track on the verse section, creates a very groove tinged riff into the chorus. Sadly, the verse section, with speaking and cleans kind of get tedious and forgettable. Sounding almost like that "it's not a phase" mentality. "The Zero" has a very shoegaze, Smashing Pumpkins sounding guitar opening, the delay and reverbed vocals add dynamics to the song. Musically, the song gets heavy at the chorus with a nice heavy riff and Hermida with cleans and screams syncing well together on the song. With "Conformity", the song starts with a beautiful acoustic guitar passage with Hermida singing in a somber and longing vocal style. The bass and acoustic guitar combo sounds so good, before the song picks up with drums and is a unique variation on the album so far and I dig it a lot. The album's closer "Don't Be Careful, You Might Hurt Yourself" starts off with blast beats and chuggy stereotypical deathcore riffage as the song is just aggressive and vengeful in the opening minute. It transitions to a quiet, clean vocal delivery into spoken word with the rest of the band slow building it into a light-chugging breakdown section with Hermida hopping from hardcore barking vocals, to gutturals and deathcore shrieks. The song ends with a wall of cascading distortion into an odd whistling and sound effects part, concluding Suicide Silence's experimentation in nu-metal.

In the opposite corner, we have Swedish death metal legends Entombed with their 1998 album Same Difference. This album would be a HUGE departure from the famous death metal sound they would inspire on the band's iconic 1990 debut album Left Hand Path. Focusing more on a commercial sound, leaning towards the alternative/grunge and noise rock genre, it is considered one of the band's weakest album's by critics and the fanbase. Is this record worse than their opponents? Was this a catastrophic fall from grace for these death metal greats?

The album opens with "Addiction King". A driving drumming of tom fills by Peter Stjärnvind, accompanied by an almost indie rock sounding guitar riff. Lars-Göran Petrov's vocals are aggressive and gritty in the production. Musically, it sounds like a more heavier version of Helmet, which is mind-blowing since this is the same band that gave us Left Hand Path and the iconic Buzzsaw death metal guitar sound. I love the bass by Jörgen Sandström ringing through in the mix behind the dueling guitars of Alex Hellid & Ulf "Uffe" Cederlund. It is a strong, upbeat opening track surprisingly. "The Supreme Good" has Petrov's vocal drenched in reverb over Stjärnvind's in-the-pocket drumming. I like the call-and-response effect on the guitar in between the verse and chorus.  The short guitar solo after the halfway mark is nice and hard rock sounding, fitting for the time of release and the direction the band was going for.

"Clauses" has an almost southern-rock sounding opening riff you would hear on a Clutch album. The wailing and sliding effect on the riff creates a slow headbanging groove to the song. Almost has the energy of a stoner rock/metal song to it, very reminiscent of Monster Magnet to me. Petrov's vocals are a nice mixture of shouting, singing and grit, which adds to that stoner/doom metal sound of the song, which I like a lot and so far is one of my favorite track off the album. The dirge like bass of Sandström starts "Kick in The Head". Very alternative/indie rock sounding on the guitars with the clean, jangling guitar tone with the drums creating a head bobbing effect into the chorus. The title track has a nice bluesy guitar intro, into a nice drum intro by Stjärnvind. The verse section has a very grungy, almost southern rock tone to the riff. Almost sounding like a Soundgarden track from the riff and the vocals at certain points.

I love the opening bass and matching guitars on "Close But Nowhere Near". Petrov's grit in his vocals and the sludgy, grungy guitar riff on the chorus adds a unique take on the alternative sound the band is trying to make their own on this record. Sandström's bass throughout the track adds a groove and pulse to the bounciness of the song. "What You Need" has a frantic and all over the place drum opening with manic guitars, before the drums bring the song back on track. VERY Soundgarden sounding in the music, with an edge that Petrov brings to the song. You can hear the grunge nostalgia and feel of the song, I just need my flannel and a Starbucks coffee and it'd be home in my Pacific Northwest mindset. "High Waters" sound so good when the main guitar riff and thundering bass kicks in. The band has nailed that alternative/grunge sound on this record and so far has had consistent direction. Right down to the guitar feedback of the track, the pacing of the song, and Petrov's shouting singing style.

With "20/20 Vision", the song starts fast-paced and pedal to the metal from the get-go. The snarl in Petrov's vocals add to the grit of the band's performance. Definitely a nice grungy, almost stoner rock sounding track and one of my favorites off this album. Songs like "The Day, The Earth" build longer with atmospheric guitars and channel an almost Alice in Chains feel in its darker tone in both the bass and guitars. "Smart Aleck" and "Jack Worm" have that up-tempo pacing and energy the band just get the crowd going in its energy and magnetism. The closer "Wolf Tickets" adds a dirge of a riff with wailing guitars behind it.  Drums hit and punch hard in the mix, especially those snare hits. A strong, agonizing sounding vocal performance by Petrov as this unique album comes to a close.

Well....that was an interesting listen (the things I do to get you to read my articles). I have heard of these records and I knew that they were going to be unique listens and I can understand why fans were a little jarred when they came out. But the question, and the reason you made it this far, is who wins this matchup? For me, in my opinion, the winner is Entombed with Same Difference. Difference was a solid alternative metal record. It was focused, had direction, quality musicianship with the band taking the record serious. Sounding like the band studied the genre and sound analytically and took that knowledge to make a good, solid record. With Suicide Silence's self-titled album, it sounded like the band was trying to throw things against a wall to see what stuck. Or listening to bands and go "Let's Write A Deftones style song" or "Let's Write A KoRn style song" and it just didn't work or came off either try-hard or just a bad attempt. They would do better in later releases, and some bands, Slaughter To Prevail for example, found out the formula to form a nu-deathcore sound and nail the sound down perfectly, but this record was not it.  

After facing backlash from the new direction, Suicide Silence would return during the early stages of the COVID-19 Pandemic with the release of Become The Hunter. The album would return to the band's trademark deathcore sound and received positive reviews from the fanbase and critics. Their most recent record, 2023's Remember...You Must Die received critical acclaim, channeling the band's origins from classic releases, while also pushing and trying new things for the deathcore genre.

Entombed would go through a lineup change following the release of Same Difference. Drummer Nicke Andersson would leave the band to focus on his new project The Hellacopters. The band would return to the death n' roll sound on the next two releases, 2000's Uprising and 2001's Morning Star, which helped gain fans back. 2007's Serpent Saints: The Ten Amendments would be the final Entombed album at the time of this article.

In 2013, the band would undergo a legal battle over the band name due to a trademark dispute, which divided the band into two camps, Entombed and Entombed A.D.. Entombed A.D. would release their first album, Back To The Front, in 2014 and would release two more albums before the band would break up after the tragic death of the band's singer Lars-Göran Petrov in 2021.

Do you agree with my decision? Who do you think should have won? Cast your vote on the poll below, leave your comments on our social media, and your suggestions who you think should step in the ring next. I’m Justin, your friendly neighborhood metalhead, for This Day in Metal and this has been Versus.

VS. Suicide Silence vs. Same Difference - Online Poll - StrawPoll
What’s your opinion? Vote now: Suicide Silence, Same Difference…

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