Review Summary: Suffocation disappoint with this rather weak EP that really doesn't show what the band can do, just repeats filler from their other records.
It really doesn’t need to be said again, but here it is: Suffocation fu
cking slay. Their brand of death metal inspired an entire generation of children that wouldn’t be playing this type of music if it weren’t for them. Everything that every new tech death band has ever tried has started with Suffocation, whether it is jazz-inspired grooving death thrash anthems, or time-shifting, skin-rippingly fast guitar nightmares. That being said, Suffocation aren’t the perfect band, and they’ve made their fair share of mistakes. After Pierced from Within
, fans were really expecting the absolute most of their band, to make an album that is able to match Pierced
in quality. Due to these pressures and idealistic differences between band members, Suffocation broke up around 1998 and released one EP as their final goodbye. This is that EP Despise the Sun
, and despite some parts of the album matching up to past efforts, is just a boring, mediocre effort by comparison.
What really makes Despise the Sun
such a bland and yawn-worthy effort? Well, the blame for this would be place able on the band members, particularly Dave Culoss’s performance. After Pierced
, Mike Smith left the band, so they had to recruit Dave from Maleviolent Creation. Unfortunately for Suffocation, his drumming can’t touch Mike Smith’s with a one hundred foot pole. His drumming through most of Despise the Sun is just the same generic blast beats over and over again. The snack that is mediocrity has caught two more victims on Despised
, as Doug Cerrito and Terrance Hobbs seem to just play the same riffs and chords as they have before, only this time without it really sounding fresh. It just seems like the same fast tech death riffs, and while they are good riffs, they are rather bland and don’t really differentiate form each other. Vocalist Frank Mullen, however, is doing some of the best vocals of his career on Despise the Sun
. His vocal style has always been among the best of death metal, as he is renowned for his low growl and his menacing bark. On Despise the Sun
, the vocalist’s style switches up a bit, and makes his growls a bit more menacing, while lightening up his tone a bit.
There is one standout track on Despise The Sun
, and that is “Catatonia”. “Catatonia” is much like Suffocation’s older material, probably because it was re-recording of a Human Waste song, and was among the band’s first songs. This album contains a re-recorded version of the song with the new drummer, and yet it still contains just about everything good about Suffocation: thrashy technical riffing, blazing, pounding blast beats, and, my favorite, the heavily Slayer-inspired solo work. “Catatonia”’s solo is wild and chaotic, even by Suffocation standards, slamming high notes like crazy and pentatonic scale-ing it’s way towards the end… But the sad facts are, one good song can’t save a five song EP form being rather mediocre. Despise the Sun
shows the struggle of a great band, attempt to live with themselves for the last few moments before breaking up. With the exception of Frank Mullen, none of the band members are truly up to their usual standard, and in the end it just sounds disappointing. Shame to, this was released after the band’s classic Pierced from Within
, so this EP was the last thing before 1998 break-up until their 2003 reunion.