It has been over three years since the tragic and untimely death of Suicide Silence vocalist Mitch Lucker, who passed away in 2012 due to injuries from a motorcycle accident. But, Saturday night in Santa Ana at the Observatory, Lucker’s spirit and legacy lived on, as Suicide Silence performed a headlining benefit concert put together by Affliction, with all proceeds of the night going towards Mental Health America of Los Angeles.
The event was hosted by Sirius XM metal DJ Jose Mangin and got tons of fans to flock to the venue, filling it up to capacity, selling the show out by 8 p.m. But, due to traffic and the parking situation at and around the Observatory, many fans came streaming in as they arrived, and missed out on crushing sets by openers Antagonist and Suffokate.
Everywhere you went in the venue Suicide Silence shirts and Mitch Lucker memorial shirts were seen, proving the connection that fans had with the band, and how they still mourn over the loss of Lucker. The impact of Suicide Silence had on fans and continues to hold is undeniable. This is a band that cannot be stopped and won’t let anything get in its way.
The crowd was rabid, as fans packed into the standing area and small pit directly in front of the stage. The music between was a mix of classic bands from the late '90s and early 2000s such as Korn, Deftones and others. If you had walked in and just heard fans screaming along to songs like ‘Chop Suey,’ and ‘Surfacing,’ you would have sworn you were seeing Slipknot or System of a Down. The influence and impact these bands had on the next generation of metal bands is truly a testament to the timeless, cyclical nature of metal music.
Los Angeles death metalcore band As Blood Runs Black had more people moving up front and was a good start to warm the crowd up, literally since the outside temperature was in the mid 50s. The band’s core breakdown musical structure was a savage attack, with melodic moments of ferocious death metal, and hints of At the Gates, Suffocation and Dissection s style mastery. This band is talented with speed, precision and sheer blunt force, and got the crowd on its feet and moving. The heavy, brutal sound was perfect for the next two bands.
Inland Empire based Winds of Plague took the stage next and had fans going ape shit, for a band that has been inactive for about year. Lead singer Johnny Plague took the time to announce that the band had officially reformed and would be back in 2016. “When our good friends in Suicide Silence asked us to be part of this benefit for mental health, it was the kick we needed to get back up on stage and share our music with you!” he yelled to the crowd.
The band’s music seemed more focused and symphonic, with metallic hardcore with chugging drums powerful bass and guitars and a melodic keyboard player to round out the sound. There were angry, raging vocals and breakdowns that echoed throughout the entire venue. Dripping energy all over the stage, the music was in tune with the vibe of the night. Overall, despite the aggressive nature of the music the band delivered a positive vibe.
Suicide Silence was welcomed on stage again, by Mangin, who announced this was the first proper headlining show in Southern California, with new vocalist Eddie Hermida. Fans were cheering the entire time, as the band took the stage and bolted into the set with a demonic and lightning fast sound that was executed with such fierce intensity and gut wrenching emotional energy that fans soaked up the music and slammed away song after song.
The sound at the Observatory was crisp and clear, you could hear very part of the drum set smashing, every bump of the bass and every riffs’s frictional composure. The vocals were reminiscent of Mitch on the older songs but it is clear that Hermida brings another character to the band’s overall sound. Yet most fans seem to embrace and welcome the new singer as part of the Suicide Silence Family and the show tonight solidified this. The bond between the band and fans was codified even more tonight, as the vibe of angst and also positivity was in the air and mixing into the sweat, blood, and beer of the mosh pit.
Suicide Silence ripped through a set that lasted around an hour and even included a cover of Korn’s classic opening song from the debut album, Blind. Suicide Silence not only proved they are unstoppable; they are a force to be reckoned with in metal. This show was a great way for everyone to bang heads, and it was a win-win situation for fans: a great metal show, while donating money to a good cause.
Suicide Silence’s set list:
No Pitty for a Coward
M.A.L.Inherit the Crown
Cease to Exist
Slaves to Substance
You Can't Stop Me
Destruction of a Statue
Bludgeoned to Death
You Only Live Once