Despite its reputation for skullcrushing brutality, extreme metal can be melodic and musical in some cases. Melodic death metal and symphonic black metal are two examples of extreme metal striving for musicality, songcraft, and nuance. But there is nothing even remotely melodic or nuanced about Suicide Silence
's first full-length album, The Cleansing
, which strives for vicious, head-kicking sensory assault and does so without an iota of mercy. This extreme metal CD offers a toxic mixture of math metal, death metal (including grindcore), black metal, and metalcore. Suicide Silence thrives on the angularity of math metal; tempo changes are frequent, and lead singer Mitch Lucker constantly fluctuates between death metal's deep, guttural "cookie monster" growl and black metal's sinister, demonic-sounding rasp. Lucker makes it sound like a vocal duet, but in fact, he is the only lead singer on this 2007 release. Put all of those things together, and you have a caustic brew that is as chaotic as it is vicious. Whether this Southern California band is playing at breakneck speed or going for a breakdown, The Cleansing
is downright exhausting -- which, of course, is exactly what Suicide Silence is going for. A perfect example of sensory assault for the sake of sensory assault, The Cleansing
is certainly not for everyone; music this abrasive is definitely an acquired taste. But moshers who do appreciate the noisy-for-the-sake-of-noisy approach will find it to be a competent example of metal carried to a ridiculously harsh extreme.