How To Survive A Funeral is a title that comes with a good bit of irony. For Perth, Australia’s metalcore boundary-pushers Make Them Suffer, it also comes with some welcomed realization and a sense of balance. This is the same band that released the roaring Neverbloom as well as the ethereal and longing Worlds Apart. A band full of purpose and powerful frameworks influenced just as much by the black metal hardcore-blended theatricality of Bleeding Through as they are the dreamy atmosphere of Deftones’ best work, this is the album where Make Them Suffer have reached an equilibrium between their various eras.
Dynamic is on full display here and definitely not something the band is a stranger to. Vocalists Sean (screams, male singing) and Booka (keyboards/female singing) are one vocal duo that deserve more credit and recognition in the metalcore realm. Where there is that old-school blasting brutality fans of the older records will love (“Falling Ashes”), it is met with a heavenly and emotional sense of melody (album highlight and notable pseudo-ballad “The Attendant”). Balancing the two produces How To Survive A Funeral‘s best and most accessible works in the pre-release singles such as the explosive “Drown With Me” and split sonic personality “Erase Me”. It’s in these that the choruses, melodies and vocal dynamics are at their best and the groovy fretwork and rhythms maintain a head-bobbing experience. Elsewhere, “Bones” and “Fake Your Own Death” further push the boundaries of predictable vocal positioning, showing that dual-fronted metalcore doesn’t always have to follow a rigorous scream/sing pattern.
If fans are worried about any sort of compromise being made in the direction of the band’s sound, there is ample effort here to encapsulate everything that Make Them Suffer have ever done well as a band. There are both blast beats and piano. Low growls and 2000’s pop singer melodies. Fiery leads and spacious ambiance. Closer “That’s Just Life” even messes with listener expectations by implementing modern production aspects to full effect. Most importantly, the ever present emotion that drives Make Them Suffer and seems to define them consistently runs throughout the 10 tracks on offer here. While it doesn’t quite contain the highs and lows of Odd Soul‘s yearning or Worlds Apart‘s larger than life approach to songwriting, accessibility isn’t nearly as driving of a factor here as fans had feared. Instead, How To Survive A Funeral waxes poetic about valuing life just as much as we tend to fear death, avoids being one-note as far as approach goes and even hints at a return to heavier, more metallic material from one of the genre’s currently most engaging bands. Fans of metalcore should find much to dig in to here with a compact album that both explores and gets to the point.