A strictly no nonsense style is not a descriptive term that can be handed to too many bands, however Make Them Suffer have made a career out of falling right into that category. The Aussies' ability to take a pound of flesh out of you with every listen is something that has hit home ever since the scarring tones of debut record Neverbloom back in 2012.
New record Worlds Apart seems to hold somewhat of a structural shift within its hardened bones. With Make Them Suffer appropriately taking a step into expansion with a hint of risk taking. Lead vocalist Sean Harmanis described the record as "a reminder to ourselves that change and growth are good things" and for the most part - he's right.
Not to be confused with a record that completely dismantles what MTS have built over the last five years, Worlds Apart is still a robust massacre in the right areas. 'Midnight Run' and 'Dead Plains' while never quite hitting the throat cutting darkness found on previous Make Them Suffer tracks like 'Widower' are still forceful punches of seething rhythm guitar and hateful growls from Harmanis.
But rather than be a breakdown centric, aggression paced record that sprints its way to sounding as heavy as possible, Worlds Apart puts more effort on melody and texture than arguably any Make Them Suffer record to date. The blend of Harmanis stepping into a more spitfire style of vocals with new keyboard/back up vocalist Booka Nile's choir-esque tones creates interesting complexities in the record. Both 'First Movement' and 'Vortex' are examples of tracks that are given extra dimensions of craft and turns of pace because of this blend - which ultimately, makes them a more progressive, interesting listen.
The concept of "risk taking" is something that is truly accomplished on the record, with not just melody playing a bigger role in Worlds Apart than any other Make Them Suffer album to date, but there's an overtly clear sense that the quintet see themselves being a bridge builder between styles. 'Save Yourself' at times has the guitar tone of a hard rock song, while the instrumental opening to 'Uncharted' is a tale of delicacy of romance. Despite the diversions however - MTS consistently manage to land back on a style that may sound like a slightly less angry version of themselves, yet it's equally unique and powerful.
There are moments on the record where there is a thirst to be quenched though, and at times the craving for the quintet to truly let go and bludgeon you into a million pieces can become strong, and this never truly happens despite it being flirted with on several occasions. Whether this will turn fans of Make Them Suffer's older work away remains to be seen, but it shouldn't - Worlds Apart is a success story of extreme metal branching out and becoming something a little more synthetic, and a lot more original.
Worlds Apart has the breakdowns, the growls, the blegh's, the high octane drum fills, and the wincing guitar lines of a great extreme metal album. But it also has an element of dexterity, chance taking and progression that at some point does become necessary for bands looking to branch into other avenues. Musically, Make Them Suffer have crafted something here that can live long in the memory for its structure and poise, and there's little reason why this can't be an album that moves the Aussies into another echelon in their career.
Review by Kristian Pugh