Suffocation - Suffocation
Relapse Records
Brutal Death Metal
11 songs (44:14)
Release year: 2006
Suffocation, Relapse Records
Reviewed by Dylan
Major event
What a triumphant return!!! Brutal death metal forefathers Suffocation have managed to create a death metal standout in a year of death metal standouts. While most die-hard fans will not let this release remove Effigy of the Forgotten or Pierced From Within from their favorite Suffocation release, their new self-titled album is an excellent work in it’s own right and should definitely please old-school fans, while simultaneously sparking interest in newcomers as well.

True to their home state’s death metal model, Suffocation keep things technical, muddy, and above all, crushingly brutal. Mike Smith’s overpowering skin smashing seems to dominate the rest of the instruments in the mix, with the bass having a fair amount of presence, though it is not very distinguishable when Frank Mullen’s signature intelligible grunts begin their roaring fury. As for guitarists Guy Marchais and Terrance Hobbs, they complete the picture with some horrible (in a good way) riffs, doused with just the right amount of mud, melody, and technical expertise to give the album an atmosphere as dark and foreboding as the cover art implies. I was never really a big fan of the band’s extremely messy sound on previous albums myself, which sounded like none of the instruments had any room to breathe and everything was…. well…. suffocating.

But as most anyone who can name more than three death metal bands off the top of their head would know, technical wizardry is fast, evil shit without a strong songwriting sensibility to put it all together, and luckily for Suffocation, they know this. The album starts out with an eerie opening track which quickly gives way to Abomination Reborn. This song has it all, and is a good representation of how the rest of the album will unfold. Pounding blastbeats, an extended breakdown section, some of Mullen’s otherworldly “cupped mike” vocals, and one of the best solos the disc has to offer. After a few repeated listens, the melodic nuances begin to shine through and make the tracks much more interesting. Take Redemption for example: a cool clean intro to begin things off in an atmospheric way before bursting into a menacing series of riffs.

An interesting thing to note is how much emphasis the band puts on breakdowns. No, not THOSE kind of “chugging” breakdowns, but killer half-timed drum patterns that work together with the intricate riffs to give Mullen’s grunts that much more emphasis. Suffocation have proved themselves masters at the technique of slowing things down while keeping the energy up, as found in one of the best songs on the entire album, Bind Torture Kill. Things get especially killer when Mullen growls the songs title over a very slow riff, but with Mike Smith’s drums acting like machine guns to back the whole thing up. And that is where the heaviest parts of the album lie. Over and over, the band will go from blastbeaten furies of death metal, to a breakdown, to yet another breakdown…

As you can expect, this formula gets a bit tired by the eighth track or so. Remember, even though this album is very well done, it still suffers from what most brutal death metal LPs do. The stand out tracks also happen to be the first ones on the album, being a testament to how solid the album really is, but how interchangeable the tracks can be as well. If The End of Ends was not on the tail end of the track list, I feel it could have been one of the killing songs. However, since it is put so far back, it just comes off as sounding dry and repetitive in comparison to the first songs of the album. Still, most death metal fans realize this and are used to it. Suffocation do what they do very well, though they aren’t much for variety. I would have to say this album is suited very well for anyone who likes their brutality infused with a bit more method than all out madness.

Note: Below is the video for "Abomination Reborn". In time the video may become outdated and fail to play.

Killing Songs :
Abomination Reborn, Bind Torture Kill, Translucent Patters of Delirium, Creed of the Infedel, Entrails of You
Dylan quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Suffocation that we have reviewed:
Suffocation - ...of the Dark Light reviewed by Goat and quoted 65 / 100
Suffocation - Pinnacle Of Bedlam reviewed by Goat and quoted 81 / 100
Suffocation - Effigy Of The Forgotten reviewed by Kyle and quoted CLASSIC
Suffocation - Blood Oath reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
Suffocation - Human Waste reviewed by Crims and quoted 92 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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