Suicide Silence: Silence is Golden
Heylmun agrees. He’s a laid-back guy, quietly intense at times, but otherwise relaxed. In the studio, when he’s not recording, he enjoys having his small plastic bong around. On the bus he plays video games. “But put me on stage,” he says, “and I become a monster. That’s where I let out all my aggression.”
Surprisingly, the band doesn’t practice all that much when preparing to go out on tour. They run through their set for about a week before hitting the road, and Garza and Heylmun will do some basic exercises on the tour bus, but for the most part, Garza says, “it’s all about just getting out there and playing. Two hundred and eighty shows last year, man. There’s no way you’re going to suck when you play that often.”
He says it also helps that the band’s music is disarmingly simple. It’s not something many musicians are willing to admit, but Garza actually takes pride in the fact that Suicide Silence write music that avoids stylistic ornamentation. “Compared to most death metal bands, our music isn’t that insane,” he says. “But less is more—the power comes through that way, there aren’t any distractions. It’s also one of the big reasons we can go nuts when we play live.”
Much of Suicide Silence’s sound comes from their deep, low tuning. Dropping to D on a baritone guitar is one of Garza and Heylmun’s favorites. They also take advantage of seven-string guitars to plumb the bottom of the tuning spectrum. “The seven-string guitar is absolutely vital to our music,” says Heylmun, who runs his ESP LTD Stephen Carpenter seven-string through a tried-and-true Mesa/Boogie Triple Rectifier. “In fact, I’m thinking of picking up a baritone seven-string.”
Garza adds, “The ESP seven-string is, to me, the beefiest-sounding guitar ever.” He plugs into Krank amps, “which I discovered when we toured with Sepultura. In the end, good equipment makes you sound even better.”
And that, after all, is the band’s main goal. Suicide Silence remain indifferent to the embellishments favored by many new bands— the MTV-ready, primped and preened look of so many hard rock groups. If they pull a page from any fashion book, it’s the one written by the same bands that helped influence them musically, including Pantera, Slayer, Cannibal Corpse and Suffocation. It’s a look that says, in no uncertain terms, the music comes first. “We’re a bunch of ugly, long-haired dudes,” Garza says. “There’s no ‘cute’ in metal. It’s not about how you look, it’s about how you sound.
It’s an old-school attitude from a newschool band, one that intends to stick around for a long time. “This is what we’re going to do forever,” Garza says. “When I’m old, gross and wrinkly, I still want to be out on tour.”
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Artists:, Suicide Silence
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