Make Them Suffer's cathartic new tune - Contraband - is one of their best yet
The Perth metalcore titans go out of their comfort zone too, enlisting their first guest collaborator in Spiritbox's Courtney LaPlante.
Header image by Colin Jeffs.
Make Them Suffer are beyond the need for an introduction, for the most part. The Perth-based metalcore heavyweights are one of Australia's biggest 'heavy rock' exports, with four charting albums under their belt - their latest, last year's How To Survive A Funeral, being their highest-charting yet - and notoriety amongst the live music scene for being one of Australia's most energetic and dedicated, with a loyal following continuing to grow as they release forward-thinking and explosive bursts of metalcore.
Knowing their decade-spanning career, it makes sense then to know that Make Them Suffer are constantly looking for pathways of evolution and growth - something we've really seen take off over the last 12 months or so. For starters, we had the launch of Onslow, a new punk project featuring the band's lead vocalist Sean Harmanis, who shared their debut, self-titled EP just the other day. There was also the launch of Booka Nile's Internet Friends project, as well as her meme-able Married At First Sight run ("have you, like, listened to, like, metalcore?" is still one of the year's best reality TV quotes).
However, much of that evolution and experimentation has come in the form of off-shoots and side projects - until now. Make Them Suffer's most recent single Contraband is a heavy one with lots to talk about, but it's perhaps most memorable for its addition inclusion of Spiritbox frontwoman Courtney LaPlante, who joins Make The Suffer as their first-ever guest vocalist. It's quite a pick too; Courtney feeling at home amongst Make Them Suffer's ferocity, and her own band - Spiritbox - is one of 2021's most-watched, with a highly anticipated debut album on the way.
The inclusion of Courtney LaPlante as a means of Make Them Suffer's experimentation with Contraband feels like a testament - an example, really - to how far the group have come over the last decade, and how they're continuing to further themselves; Contraband coming with a lot of other examples of that too. It's an incredibly slick explosion of what Make Them Suffer do best, capturing the therapeutic catharticism within their sound as twinkling piano move amongst raging melodies and rhythms that pick up the pace from the get-go and don't ease off until the song's ending four minutes later.
"We’d actually had Contraband in the bank since way back in 2016," says Sean Harmanis on the single. "As the song began to come together, we decided that it was a great opportunity to include Make Them Suffer’s first ever guest feature, and we couldn’t have picked anyone better than Courtney! Courtney was a joy to work with and showed such a great enthusiasm toward the song and her parts."
As Sean continues, it's clear that the aggression of Contraband comes from its context, and everything that's been happening in the lead-up to Contraband's eventual release. "Lyrically the song is about everything and nothing at the same time," he explains. "It’s about relationships with friends and family, but also a low-key political song, as well as an expression of the frustrations surrounding COVID-19 and its impact on our lives, particularly as members of the music community. Contraband is a buildup, the result of two years without musical catharsis."
It's one hell of a song, and marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Make Them Suffer full-stop, so be sure to take a dive into it below: