Suicide City - Frenzy (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Suicide City

Frenzy (2009)

The End

Brooklyn's Suicide City claims themselves as one of the last bands to emerge from CBGB before it closed in 2006. Which I guess is true. The problem is that even though the location and venue was still the same, this CBGB was nothing compared to this CBGB. Obviously.

Suicide City was formed by Biohazard guitarist Billy Graziadei in 2005. Eventually, Jennifer Arroyo from Kittie (remember them!?) was added on bass, and the resulting quintet began playing shows and actually building a solid following in the NYC area. Now, what the guitarist from Biohazard was doing forming a melodramatic emo-nü-metal band is anyone's guess -- perhaps Biohazard wasn't controlling enough of the Hot Topic demographic. If that was the desired outcome, Suicide City has certainly positioned themselves for a run at it.

The greater part of the record (quantity-wise) is made up of three-to-four-to-five-minute modern rock songs inflected with heavy doses of emocore wails, treated vocals, nü-metal riffs, an occasional electronic sputter and a whole, whole lot of woe. Way more than necessary, and way more than tolerable. Vocalist Karl Bernholtz doesn't so much sing as he throws his voice up and down with indiscernible words, sometimes to the beat of obnoxious double-bass palpitations ("Undone"), sometimes to plodding hard rock ("Burn") and sometimes to layered piano balladry ("Lost Years"). Spattered throughout the album that's already too long for its own good are 18 to 33-second tracks of pointless filler that only serve to disrupt the flow of what might otherwise have been a fairly decent sequencing. Even though "Undone" may be one of the more bearable songs musically, the lyrics completely nullify any positives: "Jesus makes you cursed/ Jesus why's it hurt / Undone, I come undone." There are a couple vaguely redeeming moments in "Cutter" and "The Best Way," but the vocals make sitting through an entire track nearly impossible.

It doesn't matter what venerable rock veterans are contributing to this mess, the result is the same: run-of-the-mill nü-emo with intolerable vocals and cringingly forced lyrics. There should be a hotline to prevent this kind of outcome.