Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lambgoat Reviews Suicide Note's "Empty Rooms!"

huge thanks to the Lambgoat staff for their support!

Suicide Note
Empty Rooms
(Hawthorne Street Records)

Suicide Note might just be hardcore's best kept secret. Despite their often sporadic levels of activity, the four piece has been churning out rock 'n roll inspired metallic hardcore for close to a decade now, beginning with their potent punch of noisy, raw anthems on 2000's Come On Save Me. But after the success of Suicide Note's debut full-length, You're Not Looking So Good, the band refused to stay content with their already sharp musical style and instead pushed their sound into the more uncharted territory of experimental rock, becoming a hidden gem amongst Ferret's offerings of teenage metalcore with the release of Too Sick to Dance (Forever Fucked). And after a long four years, they've reemerged for the release of yet another spectacular album in Empty Rooms, this time completely blurring the lines between their metallic hardcore origins, experimental rock, and noisy post-punk.

Amazingly enough, all of this rock experimentalism and genre blending is done in an extremely concise manner, with most tracks hovering around the two and a half minute mark. Some of the meandering direction of Too Sick to Dance is nowhere to be found on Empty Rooms, a point solidified by the instantaneous attack of hard-hitting drums, melodic yells, and noisy guitar lines in the opener, "Truly Historic." While the thick bass tones and urgent songwriting of "Division of Me" and "Black Snow" offer the best look into Suicide Note's past, the majority of Empty Rooms emits a much spacier overall sound reminiscent of highly influential 90s acts like Drive Like Jehu and Fugazi. In fact, "Merci, Mercy" would feel right at home on Fugazi's Red Medicine as its warm but rigid guitar lines, driving bass, and Guy Picciotto-like vocal style can't help but nod to the DC greats. And "Social Leper" continues the groove-laden rock approach of past tracks like Too Sick to Dance's "Let's Get Hit." Suicide Note's knack for blending all of these styles into a concise, cohesive rock record should not go understated. Any listener with the slightest bit of interest in an intelligent, hardcore influenced rock record should not hesitate in picking this up.

So although Suicide Note may have managed to fly under the radar of many hardcore fans for a few years, now is as good of a time as any to lend an ear. Bands this innovative, clever, and downright awesome deserve every ounce of support possible. And like all major Suicide Note releases, Empty Rooms was recorded by none other than Kurt Ballou.

Bottom Line: Old Suicide Note fans will love hearing these four dudes push their trademark sound deep into the realm of innovative, Fugazi-influenced experimental rock. Empty Rooms is simply another stellar record in the career of what should now be everyone's favorite rock 'n roll hardcore band.