Twice in one week I'm taking on the responsibility of reviewing another band that has been around for over two decades now. The first attempt with Devourment went a little sour and some feelings may have been hurt, but let's try to turn some frowns upside down with tonight's review from the death metal giants themselves; Suffocation.
I know them as the kings of death metal, but to those who are unaware, they tend to go by Suffocation. Having been around for about 23 years, it's more than acceptable to label them as the kings of death metal. I mean, there's very few bands out there that last one full decade let alone two and only continue to get better as time passes. The five-member band hailing from Long Island, NY currently signed with Nuclear Blast Records have just released their seventh studio album album entitled Pinnacle of Bedlam all across the world. You heard that right, seventh studio album! That's not even counting the splits, live albums, and everything in between. I was never really huge on Suffocation in my earlier years of metal, but in the past couple, I've grown extremely fond of their albums because of their vocal style and the complex riffs that they incorporate into each and every album they have released.
Pinnacle of Bedlam started off the second I double clicked the first track. Normally that's when all albums technically start, but what I'm trying to say is that the vocals and the instrumentals literally started almost immediately, which caught me a little off guard the first listen, but props to them for not wasting any time with atmospheric intros, audio bits, or slow instrumentals. The 10-track album clocks in at just under 40 minutes of growling expertise and guitar and drum work faster than a speeding bullet. There really wasn't a single track on this release that I thought was out of place, boring, or needed something added to it. You can never have too much of a good thing and Suffocation is the embodiment of that statement.
Almost every track clocked in around the same length so you were never stuck listening to a one-minute song, and then right on to a six-minute song that dragged on for way too long. The album was wonderfully produced, sounded amazing in every aspect, and I really can't seem to find any flaws on it despite listening to it multiple times. I thoroughly enjoyed when they would put some slow guitar work into the songs, "Sullen Days" being a prime example. It just shows that not every single second of a death metal release has to be in your face and full of shred. In fact, the slower guitar work was a refresher and sort of gave you a moment to relax before you faced the rest of the album and what it has to offer. Pinnacle of Bedlam is definitely up there with Pathology and Job for a Cowboy in terms of being able to stand so heavy and so strong and still capture my attention for longer than ten minutes.
I was more than impressed with this release from Suffocation, and if you get the chance to see them live and support everything they've done, definitely take the opportunity. I've heard Frank Mullen won't be touring as often with the band, but that doesn't mean that every other member doesn't deserve the support!