The world of metal came together today to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of Suicide Silence frontman Mitch Lucker, who tragically passed away in a motorcycle accident in California at the age of 28.
While we all have differing opinions on the music, I'm sure you'll agree that Suicide Silence were a band that managed to touch a widespread amount of metal fans and that in the case of any individual, 28 is far too young an age for someone who has so much signs of life, a loving family and a future in becoming a star to have their lives taken from them in a flash. And Lucker was a man with all of this with a solid reputation that he built up with his band since 2008 with the release of three incredible albums that have gone on to inspire a series of new bands.
With his fellow bandmates Chris Garza, Mark Heylmun, Alex Lopez and Dan Kenny, Lucker brought the deathcore genre to a higher mainstream attention with Suicide Silence. You can hear it in the raw and monolithic collection of doom laden metalcore that is 2008's The Cleansing. Opening with the frenetic Unanswered the band quite clearly laid down their mission statement. From there, the band's crushing display of metalcore breakdowns given a more death-metal esque brutality on the likes of The Disease, the straightforward Bludgeoned to Death and deathcore anthem No Pity for a Coward with it's yell-along hooks of "Seconds from end/ What's it gonna be?/ Pull the trigger bitch!", Suicide Silence proved they were a new face of fear, hate and brutality at a time when the big names in metalcore were beginning to slip. (Killswitch Engage's second self-titled album anyone?) The following year, the band were fairly quick in following it up with No Time to Bleed, a continuation of the non-stop brutality made clear with the opening of Wake Up, the first song that truly put them into the prominence of everyone, as well as featuring one of my personal SS favourites Lifted, which shows the band at their boldest and most emotional at their songwriting. It was still a crushingly heavy song though. Suicide Silence were never going to be the kind of band that would write their own Sunff. And rightfully so.
It was last year however that the band released their most accomplished work in the form of The Black Crown, one of the year's most blinding metal releases that left many different thoughts cast in many different directions regarding what is possible when you're in Suicide Silence. While not being as forceful as the first two releases their was a greater focus on proper songwriting and craft on creating absorbing backdrops to make the sense of grime so much more encompassing. It was also one of the first deathcore albums that proved that it was okay to be influenced by the late 90's/early 00's wave of Nu Metal and still create music that can be taken seriously. Thus, The Black Crown was as reminiscent of Slipknot and Deftones as it was of Deicide and Obituary. And while Lucker yelled his lungs out throughout the album. it was the three duets across the album that showed the three different parts of metal the band took their influences from that served as one of the centerpieces of the album. There was the collaboration with Jonathan Davis of Korn that showed off their nu metal influence, the collaboration with Alexia Rodriguez of Eyes Set to Kill that showed their knowledge of what was happening in the current world of metalcore and their collaboration with Frank Mullen of Suffocation that showed they weren't messing around when they talked about their death metal influences.
And it was with the release of The Black Crown that Suicide Silence became unavoidable in the world of metal. They may have been decisive and may have found themselves an easy target in the eyes of the trve metal crowd but the people that did show their love for the band did in full force and in particular, their love for Lucker and his lyrics, with numerous quotes and tattoos appearing of his lyrics and approval of his commanding frontman role, approval displayed for his commanding force displayed during any live show with the ability to essentially start a moshpit at the snap of a finger, and even a high amount of respect gained from the people that spend most time visiting gigs for real hardcore bands, a crowd I like to trust more than the trve guys.
Outside of bringing a new brutality to the world of metalcore and taking nu metal influences and turning them on their heads, Lucker often presented himself as a true gentleman and a man that cared about those around him whenever talking in interviews. Often he would take time to talk positively about his life as a father to his young daughter Kenadee and his complete devotion to supporting his wife and daughter. If you want evidence of the entire band showing their caring side off, all you need to do is watch the Toys for Kids video from Christmas 2011, a video that shows Suicide Silence to be a band with hearts of gold.
So it's little wonder that such widespread devastation has been displayed on metal websites worldwide regarding the death of Mitch Lucker. When I discovered the news, I just stopped all I was doing. I couldn't find the words or possible way to explain that this wasn't happening in my head. I remember feeling similar to the way I felt when I read that Paul Gray had died, but back then I didn't understand Slipknot like I do now. After a long time of getting to fully appreciate Suicide Silence, the tragic death of Lucker is the first time I've really been taken back by reading about the death of a musician.
Suicide Silence have actually provided me with some really good moments of my life. They were the band that I would constantly talk about with several friends that were in the year below me at school, with whom I continue a friendship to this day. I remember the first time I talked with the first member of that group, he asked me if I knew of Suicide Silence and I told him I vaguely did. As soon as I saw him the following day, he gave me his physical copy of No Time to Bleed for em to listen to. It was months before I got a chance to talk to him again and when I did manage to talk to him again, I was surprised he remembered who I was, but we immediately began talking about the band again and less than 24 hours later, The Cleansing and The Black Crown were also in my music collection. From then on, blossoming metal-related friendships grew and I spent much of my final school year talking about bands with that guy and his friends, and it was brilliant. And I owe it to Suicide Silence. I think a big regret in my life will be that I will never be able to get these fine gentleman together to see them live.
It's going to take some time for me and thousands of other fans across the world that Mitch Lucker inspired to realise the true extent of this terrible tragedy and it will most likely take at least a couple of years before I can comfortably listen to their songs again. At Ramblings of a Rock Fan, I send my thoughts out to Lucker's friends, family and fellow bandmates and I hope anyone that reads this does likewise. The pain they feel can't even begin to compare to what we feel as music fans.
May you Rest in Peace, Mitch Lucker. You were taken from this world far too early, but in your short time on this earth you accomplished so much.