Review Summary: Did you expect anything less?
Death Metal, such an interesting genre it is. With so many bands that come in and with little or no staying power it's hard to take a lot of the newer bands seriously. That's why sometimes it's best to stick with the basics. Suffocation have been doing just that for quite some time now, (and with the exception of their newest) each release has been one death metal classic built upon another. They haven't really changed the formula much, but they never really needed to. They have constantly been releasing good death metal since early 1990 and have quite the discography.
Suffocation's music is exactly how it's name implies: Suffocating. The guitars have so much low end it sometimes feels like you're wading through mud listening to them. There are very few moments on this album where you don't feel as if the band isn't playing as intensely as they possibly can. Everything from the drums to the vocals is downright animalistic in nature. Can we attribute this new found intensity to the fact that this album is the return from a 6 year hatius that the band took? Or the fact that orginial blasting aficionado Mike Smith is finally behind the kit again? Or now the presence of new guitarist Guy Marchais, (ex-Pyrexia, ex-Internal Bleeding) that is giving this band a newfound vigor? How about all of the above? Frank Mullen is still belting out his traditional yet crushing style of vocals and writing some pretty intense lyrics. Even for a band that has been around as long as this one. The one thing that may hold this back a bit for some is the lack of bass, which is such a shame since Pierced From Within
was so notable for its bass sections. Derek Boyer just doesn't have the same technical edge that Chris Richards once did.
The musicianship is nothing short of astounding. Combining grinding breakdowns with technical shredding, and hardcore influenced riffage that make this album just another notch in the belt of an already intimidating repertoire of great death metal releases. The drumming from Mike Smith is something that this band has been missing for some time and is absolutely nostalgic to hear again with this band. Sometimes it can be hard for a band, (especially in this genre), to come off having a lot of conviction in what they play and write. But I think you'll be hard pressed to find any other death metal band that sounds as tight and cohesive as these guys do on every album.
Short of the bass being a bit out of expectations this album is just as convoluted and deep as Pierced From Within
. This may not be breaking as much new ground as that album did, but it sure as hell still hits the mark with its' technicality and its' bleak and brutal sound. Uncompromising is Suffocation, and Souls To Deny
is yet another solid release from the Long Island natives.