Hailing from Spain, Suru have a take on doom and death metal that casts a net over more moderate rock sounds, and does it well. Fans of a non-stop onslaught will be disappointed and it’s not as progressive in feel as some others of its type, but it’s a good solid record, and I’m extremely surprised that there are so few English language websites talking about Suru.
The Scandinavian influence is strong but their melodic sound (which they describe as Brutal Goth) thankfully avoids a synth string section and relies on guitar, vocals and songwriting to create the feel.
Starting with the familiar scene-setting 90-odd second intro that sees you in a graveyard or creepy forest with the company of crows may be a well-worn cliché but it’s one I enjoy. Moving into the songs proper we are presented with growling vocals, blast beats and solid chugging riffs in ‘Lost Illusion’. Strong, clear, straight vocals enter and bring with them a melody carry the tune. The two vocal styles of Alvaro Malta set up a great contrast and although brute force wins the battle over melody in the end, it hasn’t won the war.
This style continues in essence through the whole record although there are well-used changes of emotion. The pace pick up in the appropriately name; ‘In Your Face’, as it pummels you with drums, guitar and those great harsh vocals. The whole feeling of the song is emphasised by virtue of sitting nestled between a couple of slower tracks.
One of the most interesting moments in the record happens at 2:39 of ‘Sacrifice in Vain’ where Malta‘s clear vocals drop into the growl for one syllable. It’s the first time you actually realise the vocals are from the same singer, like that tiny glitch in the Matrix that reveals what lies beneath. This song leads us away from the death metal of ‘In Your Face’ and it looks like the fortunes of war are turning.
The chord progression and instrumentation of the next song ‘Dark Passion’ could be 80’s alternative US rock (think R.E.M.) were it not for the drum bursts and solid riffs about two thirds of the way through. There’s a great guitar solo at the bridge and the crescendo builds up to a satisfying climax, signalling the greatest distance on the record from that death metal core.
The pendulum swings again over the next three songs bringing us to closing track ‘In Life and Death’, which brings together the main elements.
This record could have been more symphonic and melodic with a ten-minute closing epic. Alternatively it could have been straight death metal. Instead, Suru have done successfully what many others turn into a confused mess, by taking the listener through a range of styles and emotions with great skill that work together well as a record, and individual songs that are very good in themselves.