ALBUM: Suffocation – “Pinnacle in Bedlam”
LABEL: Nuclear Blast
GENRE: Brutal Technical Death Metal
RATING: 9.5 / 10
Bands like Possessed, Death, Autopsy and Obituary formed a new kind of Metal back in the late 80’s. It was heavier than Thrash Metal, Doom Metal and all of the other sub-genres Possessed were the ones who came up with the name for the genre, and they chose to call it Death Metal.
Just like any genre, Death Metal developed. In the early 90’s bands took what Possessed and the other pioneer bands had created and tried to make it even faster, more heavy and most important of all more brutal.
One of the bands among those who did this was a band called Suffocation.
Suffocation is one of the pioneers of Brutal Death Metal. In 1991 they released their debut album “Effigy of the Forgotten”. They have kept on following up that album ever since, and on the 19th of February in 2013 they released their 7th full-length studio album on Nuclear Blast Records entitled “Pinnacle of Bedlam”, and that’s exactly what we are going to talk about right now.
To me, this is one of my absolute favorite bands and they have never disappointed me with a release.
Though, there were a few things about this album that was worrying me. This was of course before it was to be released.
One of things was that this was the first album without Mike Smith on drums since “Pierced From Within” in 1995. Mike Smith’s drumming style has always been a signature of Suffocation.
The other thing that worried me was the first preview track from the album entitled “As Grace Descends”. Because when I listen to Suffocation I am expecting technicality which this track did contain, but I also know that there are these heavier, slower parts which is my favorite part of Suffocation’s music. This track was pretty much missing out on all of that, and that made me feel that this track was a lot less creative compared to what they have made in the past. It all just felt too technical, and I do know that these guys have a lot of fast and intense technical riffing in their songs, they’ve always had that. But I want the heavy parts too, so you can tell that I was a little worried.
These “worries” all changed when I got to hear the album as a whole after it had been released. The other songs on the album all contained these heavier kind of riffs I had been craving for and the drumming that was performed by the new drummer Dave Culross (who played the drums on Suffocation’s “Despise the Sun” EP in 1998) was just completely amazing.
The album has some insanely fast and intense technical riffing with mind blowing blast beats and insane double bass but also slower, heavier riffs like slams and such. Frank Mullen’s vocal performance is amazing like always and Terrence Hobbs and Guy Marchais are doing great jobs as always with the guitar work. And “As Grace Descends” has even been growing on me since I got the album!
You can also hear the bass very clearly, and I always love when the bass stands out to be anything but just a backing up instrument to fill out the sound. Derek Boyer’s bass performance blends in so well with the rest of the music, I love it.
So after all, I wasn’t let down by this album at all. I’m sure this will be one of my top 10 albums of this year. And track number five: “Sullen Days” will probably be one of my favorite songs through the entire year.
Suffocation has done it again, and this is the best thing they have released since 1995’s “Pierced From Within” which is my favorite Suffocation album.
“Pinnacle of Bedlam” is a beast, and it’s waiting to destroy your eardrums with its greatness.
Review by: TS