Australian sextet Make Them Suffer formed in 2008 from Perth, Australia. With their debut EP "Lord of Woes" from 2010 and a full-length called "Neverbloom" in 2012 under their belt, they've gained quite the following for their signature blend of brutal deathcore with symphonic elements. Their streak continues with a second full-length released in 2015 simply known as "Old Souls."

Make Them Suffer's previous album "Neverbloom" was decent, but decent was where the praise stopped; I wrote a (pretty tedious) review for it a few years ago, but my opinion remains about the same; although the energy, heaviness, and epic atmosphere definitely carried through and led to some powerful moments, the record was severely held back by very repetitive song-writing, from the melodies down to the rhythms. Regardless, I was interested in hearing their new material and what direction the band was going to take with their newest release. After listening through it a couple times, I found "Old Souls" to be a nice, solid step forward from the band's previous works.

The main problem with "Neverbloom," as just stated, was that a lot of the songs sounded the same in terms of both sound and structure, relying on the same melodies and so on. This unfortunately resulted in a listening experience that grew stale and dull the further you went into it. Thankfully, it seems that the band eliminated that particular shortcoming in "Old Souls," with the songs being much more diverse than previously. The tracks have good volume and speed dynamic, ranging from emotional and melodic (i.e. "Let Me In") to heavy and aggressive (i.e. "Blood Moon") so that the album stays engaging throughout.

Also rather engaging is the musicianship, though it's nothing that groundbreaking or remarkable. The aggressive vocals have nice range between the mid-pitch screams and deathly growls and boast a lot of energy, while the female singing is also solid and plays its part in delivering the more emotional parts of the album well (Particularly "Timeless"). The guitars and drums are around the same level; while there isn't that much to note in how they're performed or written, they still do a very good job of dishing out a variety of speeds and moods, from slow to rapid-fire and from mellow to abrasive. They've certainly broken out of the monotony from the band's previous album, too. The synthesizer/keyboard effects also hold up well for more or less the same reason. Instrumental-wise, "Old Souls" sees a plentiful amount of success.

The sound mixing is pretty solid, but is a bit too artificial-sounding at times. For an example, the drums, while well-performed, tend to sound so polished and triggered that they almost sound completely programmed; Other bands do have percussion that sounds highly polished that still sound good (Some even benefit from that type of mixing), but here, the drums don't mesh that well with the rest of the music because of that (i.e. "Blood Moon"). Despite that, however, the production is still pretty crisp, with every instrument standing out well while still sounding concise; for the most part, at the very least.

There are also a few highlights to be had, especially in the album's melodic department. Songs like "Let Me In" and the semi-interlude "Timeless" have dramatically provocative melodies that are both well-orchestrated and performed, and that type of sound honestly seems to be Make Them Suffer's strong suit at this point. Other tracks such as the blisteringly fast-paced but still emotional "Requiem" show some of the best of the band's heavier side, with some tracks fitting under the brutal category being notably slower or as quickly-paced as the previously mentioned track.

On the other hand, however, while not badly made, a fair chunk of the music is honestly a tad forgettable. 
This mostly stems from the riffs, breakdowns, and other aspects of the record being very derivative and somewhat generic. Tracks like “Fake” and "Blood Moon," while entertaining for what they are, sound like every other 0-note breakdown-laden song that plenty of modern metalcore and deathcore bands have already done without adding that much to the formula. The band does a very decent job of setting its own brand of blending heaviness with orchestral melody with the highlights mentioned earlier, but it seems like the band still has a way to go before they completely manage to create their own identity.

BOTTOM LINE: "Old Souls" is a solid effort and an improvement over the band's previous work. At this point, however, it seems like whenever the band tries to reach the heavier, breakdown-laden aspect of their sound, it comes across as quite generic. Maybe if the band were to play to their strengths and build off of their melodic side while staying dynamic, what they put out next could be even stronger. Nevertheless, this record has nice instrumentation and production values, as well as some sound dynamic and memorable highlights to keep listeners engaged. Those looking for heavy music driven with a sizable amount of energy and emotion in it will likely enjoy the album; it's a promising move towards the right direction.
"Old Souls" was released on May 29, 2015 on Roadrunner Records.