Suffocation - ...of the Dark Light
Nuclear Blast
Death Metal
9 songs (35:17)
Release year: 2017
Suffocation, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat

Reviewing brutal death metal is tough enough as it is, even before we consider a band with Suffocation's experience and influence. Only three years younger than your author in his thirties, the New Yorkers have survived a split and multiple member replacements over the years, and still produced such a terrific album on their last outing, 2013's Pinnacle of Bedlam, that it's hard not to consider them as vital a band in the genre now as they were over two decades ago. Yet there's something about full-length number eight that dampens the obvious enthusiasm that I once wrote about the band with; perhaps the only way from a pinnacle is downwards? The truth is that ...of the Dark Light simply isn't that good an album. Its production is loud, unfriendly to guitars and muffling to drums, robbing the band of the terrific impact that they're usually associated with, making listening to Suffocation less fun than usual. Songwriting is staid and unexciting, sticking to a formula established over four albums now with little of the experimental touches that enhanced past albums and made them sound less tired than they do here. Even the artwork is utterly dull, a computer design that could come from any anonymous death metal outfit were it not for the very large band logo.

Which, of course, isn't to say that Suffocation have messed up too badly, as ...of the Dark Light is a solid enough album. It sounds like them; pick any random track like Caught Between Two Worlds and it will fit perfectly well on a playlist of the band's songs. But it sounds like them a little too much, to the point where questions about going through the motions have to be raised, the same question that we've been asking of Slayer for their past few albums. Any new elements are conspicuous only in their absence, with few exceptions; the lengthy slam breakdown in opener Clarity Through Deprivation, for example, which admittedly will probably be amazing live. Songwriting as a whole seems to have taken a stumble to the point where you're even left wondering whether you're listening to a new song or an oddly disjointed technical switch - the way The Warmth Within the Dark leads into Your Last Breath is anything but satisfying, for instance.

New members Charlie Errigo on guitar and Eric Morotti on drums do well enough to fit in, but it's hard not to miss Guy Marchais and Dave Culross. Perhaps any new influences were kept too tightly restrained, as there seems little difference between any particular tracks and the album as a whole seems repetitive more than anything. Death metalheads will nod along to each track with enough enjoyment in the moment, but none of them are memorable even after many listens. Ah well, a new Suffocation album is a reminder that the band, even when not at their best, are still the grandfathers of brutality, and ...of the Dark Light is still a kick in the pants, even with the knowledge that the band have been far better.

Killing Songs :
Clarity Through Deprivation, The Violation, Caught Between Two Worlds
Goat quoted 65 / 100
Other albums by Suffocation that we have reviewed:
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 - Suffocation reviewed by Dylan and quoted 82 / 100
Suffocation - Human Waste reviewed by Crims and quoted 92 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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