Review Summary: Holds itself against the band's countless competitors, but this isn’t the same Suffocation listeners' all loved.
Suffocation is largely a household name in the death metal genre, releasing some of the strongest records the metal genre as a whole has ever seen. Enter 2013, and what we have here is a different Suffocation. Pinnacle Of Bedlam
still outshines many bands in the genre but does not live up to the much talked about and highly respected Effigy Of The Forgotten
and Pierced From Within
from the early days of Suffocation’s catalogue (a whopping almost twenty-five years ago). The album is respectable in its own right, but in comparison to these considerably pioneering releases Pinnacle Of Bedlam
fall short of maintaining the building steam from 2009’s Blood Oath
(which for most listeners, fell short in the same respect even with the input of Mike Smith who’s now absent on this record after a rather public spraying of members of the band). The album’s first single, ‘As Grace Descends’ shows just how the band continues to make head way with tracks, but lacks the monolithic input that Effigy Of The Forgotten’s
‘Seeds Of The Suffering’ did. Just to clear this up – the music is not bad per-se, just misses out in comparison to what the group did all them years ago.
Despite not having inherently anything wrong with the record, Pinnacle Of Bedlam
does have a couple of ‘subtle’ flaws. Namely, in the crystal clear production that removes the intensity of Suffocation’s barrage in musicianship. Some may argue that hearing everything perfectly only aids Suffocation with a modern release but again it comes back to how the band is compared to its past releases; Pinnacle Of Bedlam
needed that gritty sound to mesh together the blast beats and low end riffs. Also, the absence of Mike Smith behind the drum kit plays host to a lower energy level with the tracks themselves. Mike Smith is replaced by Dave Culross, who returns to show he is technically “able” but lacks the flair that Smith brought to records and the up tempo presence that most releases maintained throughout the entire of records. Pinnacle Of Bedlam
shows a band that’s ticking all the right boxes but Suffocation have simply done better – maybe it’s that the band is maturing into the sound they have now, but that ‘maturing’ so to speak is a regressing of sorts. Suffocation can and do
outshine many other acts of the genre but what remains to be seen is the Suffocation of old.
Overall, Suffocation’s Pinnacle Of Bedlam
is respectable for what they are doing, especially in the year 2013. Waves and waves of monotonous acts have taken centre stage when recycling the ideas of their betters. Where-as Suffocation can at least be accredited with releasing an album that actually sounds like Suffocation; even if it came a little ‘too’ polished and without the energy of the band’s early days. For long time fans; the record itself is a bit of a letdown, but on the other hand, Pinnacle Of Bedlam
does what it should on the international modern death metal scene.