The good news right off the bat: Pinnacle of Bedlam is the best of post-reunion SUFFO albums. Everything from the songs, production, progression, and the return of drum god Dave Culross see the band full of life force. Also important to know is that due to the complex nature of some songs, the album is a grower, requiring time and many listens.
Everything fans have come to love about SUFFO‘s legendary brutal, technical death metal style are all here. However, the album is more like the band on steroids where they take everything to another level, mostly the technicality and progressive influences. SUFFO explore their classical music influences, as heard on the Pinnacle of Bedlam‘s first two songs. Keen ears will recognize a classical waltz rhythm going on. The song/riff/tempo progressions are very intertwined and complex and often go on their own. Overall, the songs on the album are very diverse within themselves in all the different dimensions that they explore. The band easily transition from a melodic riff to a slam riff to a breakdown.
Things get a hair more straight forward or traditional in the middle of Pinnacle starting with the devastating “As Grace Descends.” “Sullen Days” starts off with a clean, pristine proggy guitars before chugging into unsettling pinched harmonics. The title track explores the classical waltz tempo again while also blasting into CARCASS‘ Heartwork-era melodics. Closing track, “Beginning of Sorrow,” is absolutely devastating in its sheer intensity and easily ranks as one of their best.
Longtime fans should shell out the extra money to buy the digipak version, which contains the DVD, The Making of Pinnacle of Bedlam. Not only do you get to see the recording process but you get to learn more about their individual personalities. SUFFO also provide a breakdown of their inside terminology of the various trademarks of the band’s sound. Very cool stuff.
Pinnacle clearly demonstrates the immense effort that went into creating the band’s most complex and challenging album. All your fave nerdy prog bands be damned. (Nuclear Blast Records)