Review Summary: Imagine opening a door and immediately a brick hitting you straight on in the face. You now have a good idea on what to expect with Suffocation’s EP, Human Waste.
To be quite honest, brutal death metal isn’t really my thing. I tend to prefer death metal bands with more digestible material such as the very early ones like Death and Morbid Angel, and the melodic/proggy death metal that seems to be extremely popular nowadays. Now, I have listened to some brutal death metal before, such as Nile and Necrophagist, but I’ve never really became too much of a fan of the music otherwise. Enter Suffocation into my life. I watched that all-so famous “Death Metal Office Drumming” video on YouTube (search it of you haven’t seen it, it’s by “Pud”). I was instantly hooked on Suffocation, and I just had to get more. I went out to the local CD store, and got myself Human Waste
. I popped it in and immediately was surprised and blown away.
Now since this is an EP, the production is raw. Very raw. And all the better it makes this sound. On top of that, all the members of the band are all very skilled at what they do. The guitars here, done by Terrance Hobbs and Guy Marchais are absolutely mind blowing. They sound like freaking chain saws, which is perfect for this kind of music (and in my opinion, sounds better than the actual albums). It’s kind of hard to distinguish the riffs because of the distortion, but they are very creative and keep the music interesting. The solos aren’t too flashy or technical, but match the song very well. The bass, while usually unheard in most of the songs, have some random sections here and there that show of the bassist’s, Josh Barohn’s, skill. The drums are probably the most important part of Suffocation’s sound. Drummer Mike Smith uses a very technical and extreme style of drumming, something very new to the death metal scene way back in 1991. The vocals by Frank Mullen are low and guttural, which completes the lineup of the death metal machine.
Right when you first play the CD, Infecting the Crypts
explodes through your speakers with a series of raw, heavy, technical, brutal guitar riffs and blast beats from the drums. Probably Suffocation’s most well-known song, the song is fast the entire way through with some neat little breakdowns throughout the song, and near the end features a cool section where all the instruments except for the bass cut out and the bass plays a creepy, haunting walking bass line that can give you chills every time you hear it. Synthetically Revived
slows the tempo down a bit and switches time signatures between 3/4 and 4/4 throughout the song. Mass Obliteration
is what the name sounds like. It’s a straight out death metal song, showing the standard riffing and blast beats one would expect from death metal.
The last two songs on the EP are actually quite interesting. Jesus Wept
starts out with standard death metal riffing, but then changes into an interesting circus-like riff around 1:10 in. And we all know that circus-themed music played by brutal death metal bands are always good. The song closes with a great solo from the guitars. The title track Human Waste
starts off with that kind of creepy “Ahhing” usually found in movies, and then breaks into an extremely catchy guitar riff. Mullen’s vocals seem to have switched to a more hardcore growl rather than his usual rock bottom death growl, which actually match the song very well. None of the songs are truly bad, or even mediocre, all the songs on the EP are strong in their own right.
Unfortunately, you can tell that this was a very low budget recording. There are some volume drops in key places, and sometimes in instrument solo sections, the tone actually changes a little, giving the listener a hint that this was pieced together poorly. Luckily, these happenings are very rare throughout the EP, and most would require a good ear to even notice in the first place. And though this was a low-budget recording, these cons are much more noticeable on Suffocation’s second album Breeding the Spawn
, but that’s a different story.
Go ahead and buy the albums, just don’t ignore this fine (er, raw) piece of just plain great technical, brutal death metal. Also, if you are trying to get into the genre of brutal death, this would be a pretty good place to start as it isn’t overly brutal like most brutal death metal, and it is also one of the first recordings of the genre to be released. Recommended to all lovers of extreme metal. Buy, buy, buy.