SUFFOCATION – Suffocation

SUFFOCATION have been known as one of metal’s most devastating live acts, and when they returned after several years in hibernation the band had no problem delivering in the live dept. Unfortunately the same couldn’t be said for the somewhat muddy production found on their comeback album, Souls to Deny. But with the release of their self-titled new album, the band is back with a vengeance, unleashing everything that Souls to Deny should have. “Abomination Reborn,” “Redemption,” and “Bind Torture Kill” start the album with a three-punch combination that floors the listener with quick reminder of why the band continues to reign as the godfathers of death metal. One listen to any of the above mentioned tracks and it becomes apparent that the production has improved ten-fold since the band’s previous album. Everything from the eerie clean guitar passages that set up the fierce pounding to follow, the complex unconventional lead guitar solos courtesy of guitarists Terrance Hobbs and Guy Marchais to the thundering bass lines of Derek Boyer – the mix is powerful and crystal clear giving the listener a better opportunity to absorb the crushing yet involved material found on this release. But it’s drummer Mike Smith who benefits the most as the drums on Suffocation are more prominent than on the preceding album, giving each cymbal, snare hit, double-bass flurry and “Smith blast” it’s own distinct voice. Of course who can forget the fury of vocalist Frank Mullen whose seething rage bursts through the speakers with power and clarity? So even though Suffocation features what may be the band’s first love song, “Entrails of You,” fear not as the band isn’t going soft by a long shot with lyrics such as “Submerge myself in your blood and wear your flesh.” Easily one of the most punishing albums of the year, SUFFOCATION still serves as the benchmark for death metal, with an album sure to send their countless imitators back to the drawing board to figure out what went wrong and why they cannot match the brutality and precision that is SUFFOCATION. (Relapse Records)

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