If anything can be said of the voice of Cohen, Nick Erickson, it is that he unapologetically does not play the cards close to his chest. This is especially true when it comes to emotional messages portrayed through his art. From the very first hit of “Perish”, the guitars reflect the instability that is told throughout the song. With panic chords, beatdown style chugging, and emotion that was made famous by bands like Sworn In, the story of losing a loved one is something that is relatable, and the lyric choices are spot on. Many of us have experienced a loss that shook the foundation we grew, and currently stand on. As artists, lyricists take pride in telling their life’s story through music, even in cases like this using visual representation.
“That flatline robbed us at gunpoint, but if we remember to forgive, may we meet again on a street of gold, as in all the stories that we’ve been told, but wishful thinking is growing old.” – Cohen, “Perish”
Continuing with subjects that hit close to anybody who did not grow up with white-picket fences, self-doubt and a desire to be better is touched upon. This is perhaps most adequately shown in the song “Cherish”. Gut-wrenching content from the lyrics almost takes a backseat to the guitar work and overall beefiness of the song. On the topic, a personal favorite riff on the album kicks off “Nothing”. This track would not sound out of place on Sworn In’s The Death Card or All Smiles. This group will at one point become as recognizable as Sworn In, and other bands they draw inspiration from.
“Caustic” is next up, giving us a darker, more demented end of the beat-down, hardcore style of music. That being said, the song also gives familiarity to bands like Vanna’s earlier material. Perhaps the best part of the album comes during the song, with one of the most overlooked breakdowns of 2020. The song subsides to silence, queueing in “Torture”. The groovy riff that is provided in this coupled with the panic-siren breakdown gives “Caustic” a run for its money. The ambient lead work, while tucked into the atmosphere, completes this track. However, the best seems to have been saved for last.
“Suffer” concludes with the title track, and we must touch on the music video. The willingness to depict what many either can not, or will not acknowledge this publicly, is something that must be commended. The way the song shows a descent into the point of no return, while also giving the bone-shivering low-end that the demographic desires, is blended to near perfection. The breakdown, the power behind the snare on slower parts, the guitar work, everything about this song and album flows together to near perfection. In conclusion, the opening of one’s heart and mind to show real, raw emotion, is something that may not appear as prominently with metal as other genres. However, Cohen brings a harsh, disturbing reality from a lyrical and instrumental standpoint. That reality being given to us: “We all suffer from something.”.