I think this Suffocation album has one of the best intros possible for an album of this nature… in that it doesn’t have one. The opening track ‘Cycles of Suffering’ gets straight down to business in full on, blast-beat mode and sets the tone perfectly for the duration of the 10 track, 40 minute journey.
Time passes quickly while listening to this album, the music draws you in and holds your attention in a way that Death Metal can sometimes fall short. It can sound samey, each track merging into the next but Suffocation have enough variation going on that you are kept on your toes at all times. Just as you are settling into a blisteringly fast section, things change gear down to a slow grind before switching again, with a complicated solo set over a winding bassline and heavy chugging riff that is impossible not to nod along to with your best death metal grimace.
It is worth taking a moment to remark on the awesome rhythm section to be found on “Pinnacle of Bedlam” as they are outstanding throughout; bassist Derek Boyer and guitarist Guy Marchais locking in with the ever changing and metronomic drums at every twist and turn.
This rock solid foundation provides the platform for guitarist Terrance Hobbs to lay down some of his trademark solos, complete with dive bombs and sweep picking performed at break neck speeds. This leaves us with Frank ‘The Voice’ Mullen who pretty much paved the way with his guttural vocal style back in the day and is still showing how it is done today, proof that you CAN make the lyrics heard in death metal. Just.
Don’t expect any deep and meaningful lyrics though, this isn’t an exploration of the finer things in life, this is looking over the brink and into the depths of your soul kinda stuff… but then you wouldn’t expect anything less from a Death Metal album with song titles such as ‘Purgatorial Punishment’ would you?
Whether you are a hardened fan or a newbie looking for an entry point into the genre, this is one to look out for and delivers on every front. The album is out on the 15th of February in Europe, 18th of February in the UK and 19th of February in North American via Nuclear Blast Records.