Review Summary: Omnipresent oppression.
Vitriol has had four and half years to produce a follow-up to the cacophonous monolith To Bathe from the Throat of Cowardice
. Evidently, the band has used this time wisely and are back with an updated lineup, and a notable upgrade in sound. While their debut showcased some of the most punishingly frenetic death metal ever put to wax, Suffer & Become
shows a fraction more restraint, with the Portland-based quartet paying more attention to compositional and structural diversity. That said, it should be stressed that this is no walk in the park - Suffer & Become
is still so utterly bewildering in its complexity and so overbearingly intense that a casual attempt at listening will most likely end swiftly, even for death metal enthusiasts. This is best reserved for the most masochistic of listeners willing to suffer and become at one with torture, ultimately reaping the tumultuous rewards of giving this monster their full and undivided attention.
Suffer & Become
is distinguishable from its predecessor through a few slight augmentations to their richly textured tech death which, when combined, yield delightfully successful results. Although its compositional base still lands you in the same hurricane of incomprehensibly intense drumming and discordant riffs, the use of melody is key in giving the album a platform of its own. After opener “Shame and its Afterbirth” has beaten you to a pulp, virtuosic guitar leads machete their way through the carnage to temporarily save your soul in majestic fashion. “The Isolating Lie of Learning Another” also shines in this respect with a brief yet triumphant solo, soaring joyously above the chaos. A greater variance in tempo also pays dividends with the slower, lumbering groove of “The Flowers of Sadism” and “I am Every Enemy” helping to break up the incessant rapid-fire drumming. “Survival’s Careening Inertia” provides arguably the starkest contrast on the album with clean guitar dominating the first few minutes, serving as a short intermission. The track gradually builds in intensity before morphing into monstrously dark and atmospheric epic outro, rich in swirling overdriven leads and ominous synths. From this point on, the album is consistently at its most brutal, tormenting you with a tirade of chaotic riffs, near constant double bass peddling and snarling interplay between equally ferocious vocalists, one in the death camp and one with a spine-chilling black metal shriek.
Despite all this talk of diversification, one thing is certain: no matter what respite you are granted, Vitriol will slam you straight back down into the depths of hell almost immediately. Suffer & Become
is so suffocating and oppressive that after several listens, you still won’t have made much progress with unpacking its contents. Perseverance will reward and those with enough patience will enjoy an astounding sophomore that displays a supreme level of technical skill and an insatiable thirst for pushing the limits of death metal. If it were to push any further, Vitriol may collapse under the weight of its own genius.