Suffocation always has been in an odd spot when it comes to the Death Metal pecking order. They’re not quite in what most observers perceive the Big Four to be (Morbid Angel, Death, Cannibal Corpse, Obituary, maybe?), but have remained one of the most consistent acts operating within extreme music. And with eighth studio album, …Of The Dark Light (Nuclear Blast), the Long Islanders continue delivering foundation-cracking noise.
My gripe with Suffocation not getting enough of the extreme spotlight (or income) is that it doesn’t correlate to the level of influence they wield. Suffocation has the type of sound that’s as vital to Deathcore as it is to Technical Death Metal or Grindcore. Unless your name is Napalm Death or Carcass, you typically don’t get to flaunt those accolades. You want dizzying tempos? Scorching leads? With breakdowns and lots of groove? Well, seems like …Of The Dark Light is the album for you.
Speaking of breakdowns and speed, ‘Clarity Through Deprivation’ and ‘The Warmth Within The Dark’ holds it down in those departments. ‘Clarity Through Deprivation’ is a hailstorm of blast-beats until the breakdown kicks in and blows your door off the hinges.
And if it isn’t enough, Terrence Hobbs and Charlie Errigo hit you with some extraterrestrial shred. ‘Your Last Breaths’ and ‘Return To The Abyss’ are marathon runs through gator infested waters that are buoyed by Eric Morotti’s propeller double-bass kicks.
Just because Suffocation was formed in 1988, don’t be fooled into believing that they couldn’t carry this violent assault well into the second half of the album. Title track ‘Of The Dark Light’ starts as a blitzing number replete with brain-liquefying leads, before the meanest breakdown ever put to tape takes over. Pantera’s ‘Domination’ pales and questions its existence by comparison. The album closes with a revisit to ‘Epitaph Of The Credulous’ which rips without never coming across as dated and has improved barks from Frank Mullen.
At this point it seems redundant to have to say that Suffocation has released another banger. Even their weakest offering, Breeding the Spawn (Roadrunner), is the victim of strong songs being coated in piss-poor production (hence ‘Epitaph Of The Credulous’). Pound for pound they could well be the best band in Death Metal.
Source: Ghost Cult Magazine