Become the Hunter

Become the Hunter

“Since the beginning, Suicide Silence have been the band you love to hate,” vocalist Hernan “Eddie” Hermida tells Apple Music about the deathcore crew’s sixth album. “The band was always doing big things, but people didn’t understand why, and they talked shit on the internet.” After Suicide Silence’s original vocalist Mitch Lucker was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2012, Hermida had the unenviable task of replacing a frontman who was as revered by his fans as he was reviled by deathcore haters. When Hermida sat down to write lyrics for this album, he decided to turn the tables. “We were once hunted, and now we’re the hunters,” he explains. Below, he takes us through Become the Hunter’s distinct serial-killer theme, song by song. Meltdown “I’m obviously not singing on this, but the band had this concept from the beginning to do a musical intro for the record—just a really heavy, crushing opening of the door. It’s like, ‘Hey, guys—this is Suicide Silence. Don’t you forget.’ When [guitarist Chris] Garza would break his instruments onstage, people would say, ‘Suicide Silence had a meltdown!’ So that’s kind of where this comes from.” Two Steps “All my life, I’ve been fascinated with serial killers. And obviously Ted Bundy was the hype about a year ago when I was writing these lyrics—there were those two movies about him on Netflix. So this has loosely to do with Ted Bundy, who was a guy who would befriend his prey—he’d be two steps away. He’d get in really close and then all of a sudden you became part of his collection. To me, the song is about that evil creature that all of us can possess inside and how at any moment, without any control, we can become this monster.” Feel Alive “When serial killers became pop culture in the late ’70s, it seems like everyone was a strangler. There was the Hillside Strangler, the Stockwell Strangler, the Boston Strangler—and it just fascinated me because you have to assume it’s a really intimate experience. You really feel the person dying as your body is pressed up against theirs. You can whisper things to the person. It’s almost like you’re cuddling with them. Kenneth Bianchi, one of the Hillside Stranglers, spoke about how it would make him feel alive to kill people. So that’s what this is about.” Love Me to Death “This song is about Gypsy Rose [Blanchard], who was a victim of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, which is basically when the mother would poison the daughter to make the daughter constantly sick [or convince her that she had a debilitating illness]. And that would make the daughter need the mother. So Gypsy Rose didn’t have a normal life, didn’t go to normal school—she was imprisoned at home. Later, she found a boyfriend on the internet and they killed her mother.” In Hiding “This song is a little bit less about a specific psychopath or serial killer and more about sociopaths in general—these narcissistic people who sit in the back of the room and judge everybody. And then they let that poison out in their personal lives and people stray away from them, so they tend to be alone. But it’s also about the facade that we put up to keep people from knowing that we’re shy or have asthma or played trombone in high school. I’m pointing a big finger at myself here, and our fans as well. The song is really about looking in the mirror and realising that you can’t be anybody else and that’s okay.” Death’s Anxiety “This is about the fear of impending doom. I believe that’s why we like serial killers; I believe that’s why we’re fascinated with murder mysteries and bad news and scary movies. All of us are deathly afraid of what’s happening next. A friend of mine described anxiety as thinking about the future and depression as thinking about the past. I really correlate the two now, and if I’m constantly worrying about what’s going to happen next, I’m terrified in the moment and start to panic. So it’s about taking a step back and realising that you can just take a deep breath and things are going to be all right.” Skin Tight “This is our Ed Gein song. It’s a love song about a son who was in love with his mother and a girl who didn’t want her son and the three women the son fattened up and killed and took their skin and created a suit out of that was supposed to be his mother. Pretty plain and simple.” The Scythe “‘The Scythe’ is about Chris Scarver, who killed Jeffrey Dahmer in jail. He had two accounts of why he did what he did: One was that he said he was sent by a higher power. Later, he said he did it because Dahmer was taunting other inmates. To me, the song is about this thing that people get caught up in: ‘I’m going to do something big and extraordinary,’ but then they just murder somebody. But even if the person you killed was a horrible person, at the end of the day you’re no better than they were.” Serene Obscene “This song is about our judicial system and our prison system. I really don’t think we’re doing enough to rehabilitate people. And I think that tossing a dude like Jeffrey Dahmer in with the rest of the general prison population is doing exactly what we want to do to the people that hurt us—which is get revenge. What we need to do is treat them as people and get down to the core of what’s going on. If these people are mentally ill and need to be put into maximum-security places where they don’t hurt themselves or other people, then we should do that. There’s a reason these people are broken, but we have no interest in rehabilitating them.” Disaster Valley “This song really embodies the whole record to me. What you do as a serial killer and what you do to become the hunter is that you go through this valley. You get to this first hill where you realise where your talents are and who you are as a person, and then you have to take a leap of faith. And in that leap, you’re probably going to fall down and you’re going to hit this valley—Disaster Valley. And then you have to climb up again to get to the top of the next thing, where you can see everything clearly and you know that you did all the work necessary to be on top.” Become the Hunter “I wanted this song to be a two-voiced thing—basically the angel and devil on your shoulder. It’s like that song ‘Guilty Conscience’ that Eminem did with Dr. Dre, where they rap back and forth. The idea behind this is that we’ve created a character through all these songs who’s the embodiment of all these serial killers—he’s two steps away from cracking, feels alive through killing people, has been through the judicial system and kind of lived this whole thing. I had my buddy Darius Tehrani from Spite sing on this with me, and we play both sides of the coin. At one point he’s the character, and then we switch. This is the moment where the character decides if he’s going to become the hunter or not. For us, we choose to become the hunter and slay the world with our music.”

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