Don't Kill The Messenger
posted on 10/2006 By:
I’ve always wanted to ask a member of a tough-guy hardcore band like Cincinnati’s Suffocate Faster how they manage to ever get through a single set without having the show deteriorate into a shit beating blood riot. Well, to be honest, I think that’d be missing the point. Plus, they’d probably curb stomp me just for asking.
Okay, so that might be assuming a lot, but still, it would seem characteristic of the straight edge four piece whose newest effort Don’t Kill The Messenger is a solid, if not boring, piece of no-frills tough-guy hardcore that draws just as much inspiration from a Chuck Liddell workout as it does from Throwdown’s Beyond repair or Too Pure to Die’s We are a Weapon. Like most of the other strictly moshcore bands on the market, Suffocate Faster don’t seem intent on trying to prove their legitimacy through any means of musical progression or divergence - but rather by trying to push the ‘our band will kick your band’s ass’ persona of acts like Donnybrook and Hoods to an even more over-the-top level.
Essentially, each of the record’s eleven tracks are more a never-ending sequence of huge, windmill welcoming breakdowns strung together by generic up-tempo chug than they are actual songs. The sing-along simple lyrics stick to the typical hardcore ideology of straight edge pride, communal unity, scene purity, dedication, honesty and the brass knuckle gang beating that comes from disrespecting any of these motifs. If it sounds simple it’s because it is simple - after all - why would they bother? Their target audience doesn’t show up wearing mesh shorts and ankle braces to stand and listen to complex time signatures or developed song structure – they want to move, and the band is certainly good for that.
If Don’t Kill The Messenger proves anything, it is that the band is capable of creating stomp worthy double bass breakdowns that - no doubt - can leave the floor of any VFW Hall covered in sweat, blood and fallen double zero gauge plugs. Even so, they routinely fall into the same trap as many of their tough guy contemporaries. Instead of writing pissed off hardcore songs with an E chord breakdown climax - akin to early Hatebreed or Until the End – Suffocate Faster saturate their songs with breakdowns to the point where it literally becomes listening to the same underwhelming 45 seconds on repeat. The intolerable repetition creates so much ennui that listening to the record straight through is nearly impossible. Once the initial awe of picturing a giant dance floor eruption fades, there are about ten tracks and 100 identical breakdowns left to sit through. The band’s hard line ‘go straight edge or die’ mantra won’t win them many converts or be enjoyable to anyone whose favorite band doesn’t begin and end with the letter X either, but it really isn’t targeted to anyone else.
In the end, Suffocate Faster have proved with Don’t Kill The Messenger that they are a band who know how to do one thing and do that one thing well, write solid breakdowns. However, like with any genre, a great record takes a lot more than just one notable quality. Unfortunately for these guys, they don’t have much else going for them, they lack the thrash tendencies of 100 Demons, the punk rock n’ roll hooks of Blood for Blood or anything else worth listening to between the many dance parts. I would imagine that, with the right audience, the live show could be an affair of well choreographed brutality - but it still can’t save the recording from being dull, repetitive and boring. If you enjoy this style of music I wouldn’t write them off completely - but let this serve as their one second chance to either find something new next time around or just concede and change their name to xBreakdownsx.
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