Suffering Hour
The Cyclic Reckoning


4.0
excellent

Review

by Fernando Alves STAFF
February 20th, 2021 | 75 replies


Release Date: 02/09/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The punishing effect

Minnesota-based blackened trio Suffering Hour is part of a new generation of bands that orbit dissonances spawned from death and black metal. Their style, which swings between Deathspell Omega and Artificial Brain, has as its main feature the plethora of effects used by guitarist, and main composer, Josh Raiken. I would even say that Josh's multi-effect guitar sound is the band's most distinctive characteristic and the core of its DNA. The constant use of vibratos, or chorus and flanger modulation effects, are pervasive in Suffering Hour's music, working as a fingerprint. Their 2017 debut, In Passing Ascension, and the subsequent one-track EP Dwell are among the most interesting dissonances sprouted in the last couple of years, being on par with modern classics such as Infrared Horizon or The Approaching Roar. Needless to say, I was looking forward to Suffering Hour's sophomore with a fair degree of curiosity and excitement.

Upon diving into the opener, I soon realized that the Minnesota lads would take a more atmospheric approach this time around. Their music now gains a more spacey and ethereal character, while still retaining a strong connection to the past. In this sense, 'Strongholds of Awakening' could not be a more appropriate starter. Its intricate dissonant riff envelops us like a malicious psychedelic snake that slowly imprisons us in a dark trance. This more atmospheric nature is thus the most contrasting nuance with the previous album and the foundation on which The Cyclic Reckoning rests. Josh's multi-effect guitar sound continues to lead the way, now with extra reverb and delay that propels the music into a more three-dimensional spectrum. Dylan Haseltine's deep gutturals and the solid rhythm section complete the soundscape in a perfect symbiosis.

All songs display a considerable tempo variation without ever ceasing to have a strong aesthetic connection. The first two tracks, 'Strongholds of Awakening' and 'Transcending Antecedent Visions', are the ones that reveal the greatest inspiration, instantly catapulting the listener into the album's sonic stratosphere. The latter's slow-tempo vibrato is among the album's most memorable moments, along with the neoclassical dissonance in 'Obscuration'. The mostly instrumental sequel to 'The Abrasive Black Dust' also features its highlights, namely the final sequence where Dylan's bass appears in all its glory. Curiously enough, the sixteen-minute finale 'The Foundations of Servitude' is the song that I find the least appealing, not because it is uninteresting, but because it fails to grab my attention all the way through. It's probably my fault since my attention span is not what it used to be; however, I do believe that despite its standouts, the song doesn't quite match the band's previous eighteen-minute epic 'Dwell'.

The Cyclic Reckoning is the band's logical step towards more atmospheric soundscapes while keeping its dissonant personality intact. I must admit I have some difficulty in categorically stating that it is the trio's best release to date, nevertheless it seems to me undeniable that it largely succeeds in solidifying the collective and establishing Suffering Hour as one of the most interesting acts the genre has to offer. And if I was asked to describe the album in a nutshell, I would point to Josh Raiken's modulation pedalboard and name it 'The punishing effect', and in doing so, it seems I may have just found myself a summary.



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user ratings (83)
4
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
February 20th 2021


15670 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice jam. Dissonant lads should take a peek.

Full stream:

http://youtu.be/TDHI1MY-u8Q

http://sufferinghour.bandcamp.com/album/the-cyclic-reckoning

Digging: Evergrey - Escape of the Phoenix

trilo
February 20th 2021


3686 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hell yeah, nice review



was jamming this last night and it ruled m///

Digging: Suffering Hour - The Cyclic Reckoning

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
February 20th 2021


15670 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks. Your dig also rules.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 21st 2021


13561 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I’m only one spin in so far, but this has some seriously nice vibes

Digging: Stargazer (AUS) - Psychic Secretions

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
February 21st 2021


15670 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, good stuff, I love their blackened dissonant signature

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 21st 2021


13561 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

2021, the year of disso-whatever-core

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
February 21st 2021


15670 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

And the new Altarage is just around the corner

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 21st 2021


13561 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You don’t have a copy yet? Strange.

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
February 21st 2021


15670 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I haven't received the promo yet :[

evilford
February 21st 2021


50800 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice rev bro man, this band sounds sick gotta check



Also I assume they got their name from Anacrusis' Suffering Hour? Another reason to like them, if so.

Digging: Thanatos - Realm of Ecstasy

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
February 21st 2021


15670 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks bro.

That's a good question. I honestly don't know, I'll try to find out through some early interview.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 21st 2021


13561 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just hit them up for a current one Fern, you’ll be able to ask yourself : )

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
February 21st 2021


15670 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It was never in my plans to do interviews, but who knows? It should be fun.

evilford
February 21st 2021


50800 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Don't go out of your way tho man haha, just was curious. I'm assuming that's what they took it from. Not sure what else it would be, unless it's just a happy coincidence and they don't know Anacrusis, which I doubt.

CaliggyJack
February 21st 2021


5326 Comments


I am always ready for some more Blackened Death in my life

Gr8 review m8 I r8 8/8

MillionDead
February 21st 2021


3696 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

More blackened dissodeath?? Hell yes. Already a good year lol

DDDeftoneDDD
February 21st 2021


15902 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

They got their own thing going on here. Dig this vibe.

Digging: The Amenta - Revelator

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
February 21st 2021


13561 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Definitely a great year for extreme musics

Inoculaeted
February 21st 2021


582 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Rules

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
February 21st 2021


15670 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You lost me at "I r8 8/8" hahah but thanks CaliggyJack



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