Social Suicide

Broken Pilgrims

Written by: AP on 25/09/2011 00:16:03

Riding upon a crest of acclaim and swiftly generating a strong following in Europe, Social Suicide are part of the sudden deluge of excellent bands originating from Norway that we have been witnessing over the past couple of years. Others have dubbed their take on hardcore and punk a vibrant mixture of Refused, Botch and At the Drive-in, some of the most influential bands in the genre, and if there's any justification for the praise, the quartet's debut album, "Broken Pilgrims", promises to be quite the exhibition of artful noise.

And while the references can certainly be justified, Social Suicide are so much more than mere impressionists. Across the album there is a constant undercurrent of pop as well, hidden inside a dance beat or memorable chorus such as on the brilliant title track, bringing to mind the band's countrymen and women in Blood Command; however, it is obvious that Social Suicide are very much a hardcore band at heart. As much is clear from the whining feedback and consistent dissonance of "Mail from the Watchtower" and the subsequent mathematic assault of "Death of New Kings", both sharp and poignant, chaotic pieces that nod toward the recent wave of British hardcore à la The Long Haul, Kerouac and Lavotchkin.

Indeed, there is a constant sense of unease to "Broken Pilgrims" that the band conveniently dissolves in exactly the right places with an uplifting chorus or call to arms, ensuring that the rampageous rhythm section never becomes too dizzying. "Fallen Angels" is another fine example of the band's intuition in this context: it features a deranged atmosphere not too distant from The Chariot or, a little closer to home, Ritual, relieved with a clever guitar bridge complete with concert-friendly clapping parts. Still the true gem here is "5th Man on a Dead Man's Grave", on which Social Suicide enlist the anthemic approach of Comeback Kid, hauling at us the delightfully distorted, though no less memorable lines "here I am / just like I've always been before / didn't dare to take a shot / now I'm drowning in my plot", words that continue to haunt the listener and force a return to them for the sheer power and emotion they emit.

Typically music like this can become exhausting, but Social Suicide's masterstroke is to keep things short and varied. As a result, the album, while brutal and unhinged, certainly does not outstay its welcome. Among the more traditional dissonant hardcore tracks like "Martyricon", "Enemy Cave" and "Rodeo III" are jarring off-kilter experiments such as "Let the Waves Come" and brooding slow stuff like "Harlots and Prophets" and the fantastic album closer "The Last Martyrs", so that "Broken Pilgrims" is actually likely to satisfy a rather wide spectrum of audiences. Aggressive, intelligent and bulging with unusual and innovative ideas, it sounds as fresh and potent as a debut album should, and more than warrants the high profile support slots with the likes of Comeback Kid.


Download: Broken Pilgrims, 5th Man on a Dead Man's Grave, Rodeo III, The Last Martyrs
For the fans of: Blood Command, Kerouac, Refused
Listen: Facebook

Release date 18.04.2011
Brilliance / Redfield Records

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