Shock and Awe: Make Them Suffer Craft Heavy Music That Commands
There seems to be a renaissance of heavy culture happening in Australia. Exporting a lengthy roster of contemporary contributors to all sub-genre of metal, it's impossible to ignore the kind of output that has emerged in recent years. Among the notable artists gaining a footing globally include Make Them Suffer.
In the last eight years the band has churned out four studio releases that have all added another facet to the collective that seems to rally fans more and more. 2017 would prove pivotal for the band with the release of Worlds Apart. The record added keyboardist and vocalist Booka Nile and another weapon in the audio artillery, as melody became a much bigger element to the band's approach.
In the three years since, Make Them Suffer have continued their evolution while amassing a broader base that champions the band's ability to blend the brutal with a hint of beauty. The band's current release, How To Survive A Funeral serves as arguably their most complete offering, indicative of the kind of artists they have spent years becoming.
On the strength of singles like "Soul Decay," "Drown With Me," and "Erase Me," the duality of Make Them Suffer positions the band as one of the most dynamic of the genre. The sort of peaks and valleys within the constructs of their songs, offer the listener a ride that proves immediately convincing.
On the eve of their release, frontman Sean Harmanis discussed the long road thus far and what the forecast includes for band.
How To Survive A Funeral really does a good job of accenting the heaviness the band became known for with melody. Did this record build off of some of the stylistic changes the band made on Worlds Apart?
Harmanis - I definitely think that Worlds Apart was an integral stepping stone for the bands growth musically. There are a few moments on the new record where we tap into the sound of that album, but more importantly I think writing that album gave us the confidence to experiment which is partly why the new record sounds so diverse.
Holy shit... the breakdown in “Drown With Me.” - musical moments like that are written for the stage. That part is begging to be performed live. Is it tough having such a strong record and not being able to play it?
Harmanis - It's a real bummer not being able to perform the songs live, that's for sure. I'm so eager to bring the new songs into the set. Having said that, I think the extra time will allow people to really sink their teeth into album. Also, I think we'd have more confidence in playing some of the lesser-known songs from the album, which we don't typically get to do on album tours.
There was a published interview that read that the band drew influences from a variety of bands ranging from 30 Seconds to Mars to Meshuggah. That’s a pretty wide spectrum.
Harmanis - 30 Seconds to Mars might be a bit of a curveball but I really think they're second to none in the soaring chorus department. We tried to include 1 or 2 of those on this record.
There was also some discussion about experimenting a bit in production. The band used Booka’s voice as a sample?
Harmanis - Yep, her voice can be found sampled at the end of the title track "How to Survive a Funeral." This was super fun and something I think we'd love to do more of in the future.
Since Worlds Apart the band has released two well received singles in “27” and “Hallowed Heart” Were those from the Worlds Apart sessions or the early stages of the How to Survive A Funeral sessions? Or neither?
Harmanis - They were standalone tracks. 27 took us almost a month to write and during that process we were constantly re-writing the song and second guessing ourselves, by contrast Hollowed Heart was basically written in a day, in the middle of a tour.
Your last full length was released in 2017. Obviously there has been a lot of touring that has happened since. How has that changed your perspective and how has that impacted your music? Seeing new place, meeting new people, experiencing new music - that all has to effect you somehow.
Harmanis - I think if anything the biggest take away of touring is that you develop a pretty thick skin. For me personally I've learned not to stress the small stuff, nor take it to heart when I have a disagreement with another band member. That definitely helps the writing process a lot.
There seems to be an ongoing narrative that the band has made this gigantic departure from the first two records. What do you say to the people that expect you to make the same record throughout your career?
Harmanis - My perspective is this; the earlier stuff was great because I think it was original and unique for it's time. If we do another record similar, it's no longer unique and therefore, in my eyes, boring. Also it's just not what we're enjoying writing at the moment.
The reality is that this particular record will have to age well because no one knows when live music will be back. What about this album makes you confident that it will stand the test of time?
Harmanis - As a band that typically releases albums every 2-3 years we're no stranger to having to drag stuff out. I think all our albums have aged pretty well and I doubt this one will be an exception.
Order How To Survive A Funeral from Make Them Suffer HERE
Watch the video for "Bones" from Make Them Suffer