Suffocation - Pinnacle of BedlamSuffocation

Pinnacle of Bedlam

01. Cycles of Suffering
02. Purgatorial Punishment
03. Eminent Wrath
04. As Grace Descends
05. Sullen Days
06. Pinnacle of Bedlam
07. My Demise
08. Inversion
09. Rapture of Revocation10. Beginning of Sorrow

[02/19/13]
[Nuclear Blast Records]

Suffocation are absolute legends, and the modern metal scene owes them a debt they can never repay. For good or ill, this is the band most responsible for spawning the deathcore genre. Now they’ve returned, with some lineup changes, a cleaner, better production job and an ear for songwriting that has been honed to a razor sharp point, Suffocation are poised to return to at a time when they genre they helped create is arguably on the wane, so how does their newest full length hold up? Will they continue to coast on the strengths of their signature style?

Not to worry, Pinnacle does not disappoint. The band sounds more vital and hungry then they have since they reformed, and new drummer Dave Culross fills Mike Smith’s admittedly large shoes spectacularly.  Terrance and Guy’s guitar work is as incendiary and brutal as ever, with some of the duo’s best solo work to date appearing on this album, to say nothing of the riffs. The riffs! This is how you write compelling death metal songs. Yes, songs. There was a day, not too long ago, where death metal was a genre filled with bands who wrote catchy, brutal and interesting songs, instead of a few half-baked riffs thrown together over a computer drummer and processed to hell and back.

This is an album that is chock full of moments that will feel both familiar and surprising to anyone who’s been paying attention to death metal for any amount of time. This is to the bands advantage, as it makes these songs feel exciting yet nostalgic. A few curve balls are thrown, such as the excellent bits of fusion style guitar, sounding almost like a darker Animals as Leaders, but this is still at its core very much a Suffocation album, and very much a death metal album, so if you like either, you will love this. More close minded and elitist fans of the band and genre may decry Joe Cincotta’s warmer, modern production job, sounding a bit like the best of the deathcore bands they inspired, but this just makes the whole album hit that much harder. Every instrument is clear, audible and has its own place in the mix.  This is what old school New York death metal has always needed to sound like and Suffocation make it fit like a well-worn glove.

Every element you’d expect to hear and want on a Suffocation album are here, and the band are firing on all cylinders. Releasing an album this good, this vital and ambitious, this late in a bands career is generally unheard of. Few can pull it off, fewer still do it with the ferocity and hunger that these five men do, reunion, lineup changes and advancing age doing little if anything to slow the inexorable machine. Pinnacle of Bedlam may be the pinnacle of the bands career so far. It’s certainly one of the best albums in the death metal scene in a long time. Other bands, take note. Suffocation are back, and better than ever.

 

Suffocation – Pinnacle of Bedlam gets…

5/5

– CK

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