Suffocation - ...of the Dark Light (review)
Genre: Death metal
Album: ...of the Dark Light
Release date: June 9th 2017
Record Label: Nuclear Blast
Guess what? After 4 years of deathlike silence Suffocation have released a new album! Their previous album, Pinacle of Bedlam was their thrashiest release up to date but the question is if that is the case with the latest one, ...of the Dark Light? I don’t think so! And really, you don’t need to listen through it thousand times to say it’s a beast of an album! It will crush you on your first listen! First of all, it’s good to note that the band has a new line up featuring Eric Morotti (Killitorous, Epocholypse, Blind Witness) on drums and Charlie Errigo (The Merciless Concept, ex-Pyrexia, ex-Internal Bleeding) on the guitar. I hope that every single one of you know who Frank Mullen, Terrance Hobbs and Derek Boyer are.
The album opener, Clarity Through Deprivation will convince you that Suffocation delivers the goods in a matter of seconds. A shredding death metal riff, pounding drums and monstrous vocals of Frank Mullen leave no one indifferent. On top of that, you get Derek Boyer’s bass hammering as well as a combination of melodic and brutal riffs which show that Suffocation is still on top of their game! The calm before the storm embodied in the double bass hail of bullets is suddenly interrupted by a sick break down. You can hear Frank yelling CLARITYYYYY THROUGH DEPRIVATION! And then the melodic part clears the path for the solo to kick in! Tremolo violence is Terrance Hobbs’ name of the game! The next tune, The Warmth Within The Dark reminds of some melodic riffs akin to the ones on Souls to Deny album. It’s pretty amazing how clear Frank vocals are on this record! You can actually hear almost every word he spews out. That part EVERYTHING YOU WERE TOLD TO BELIEVE IN THIS LIFE WAS A LIEEEE will stick into your head for a long time! And yeah, when he says THE TRUTH HAS MADE YOU VOMIT you just can’t stand still with that growl and the crazy shredding riff in the background! During a slower part you might end up thinking that the song is over until it builds up to a new riff of gigantic proportions.
Your Last Breath is by far, one of the finest tunes on this album. The way the guitars complement each other, one playing ambiental sounds while the other is tearing the strings to shreds is simply amazing. And all of a sudden, things get even more intense with this ultra technical riff accompanied by a drumming feeding frenzy. And then the shredding begins! The song itself is a sonic equivalent of a meat grinder, no exaggeration whatsoever! Chugging power chord riffs will molest your calmness big time! And the way Frank growls in this one is pretty unique! It’s not like he is screaming in one tone which is the problem of the majority of present day death metal vocalists! As usual, Terrance delivers a proper solo that will leave you speechless! Return to the Abyss kinda sticks away from the rest of the tunes. Its simplistic nature and grindcore rifff added to it is what makes it so catchy. Frank Mullen’s vocal attack is the dominant element in this song. Not to mention the clean guitar outro which is the exact opposite of what Torn Into Enthrallment intro is really about. The Violation has more of a straight forward, death metal approach. Technical riffs and rattling bass sound will stir your brain up a bit. And out of nowhere, this dance of death riff comes into being with probably the best solo on this album. Terrance really knows how to build things up and down! Great arrangements is what makes every song on the record so fluid! Once again, you may think that new song is coming up but you’d be fooled by these tiny pauses that are omni present on this record. The title track, ...of the Dark Light, is a festival of virtuous technical riffs that will make you believe Suffocation guys’ frets are on fire! And all of a sudden, the song becomes slow and heavy . No matter how fast or slow, melodic or dissonant Suffocation guys play, they just sound so damn heavy! „Why so heavy!?” Terrance Hobbs’ solos are the ones you might actually enjoy listening to! The song gets into a new direction with a chugging riff and a pick slide that sounds just like as if it is spewed out of rabid stallion’s nosedrills. And that melodic breakdown riff with the drum burst is just mindblowing!
Some Things Should be Left is definitely one of the strongest songs on the album, if not the strongest. An excellent technical riff and buzzy bass attack became a pretty simplistic, almost tribal kind of thing all of a sudden. I guess that you won’t headbang to this part only if your head is not on your shoulders. Classical sound is also brought up into this song with this very melodic, and yet very long riff. Things are getting even crazier when the song is reaches towards the ending. The band is just flying all over the place! Caught Between Two Worlds is another great track . I am really glad that the bass is not buried in the mix. And by far, this song is where Derek Boyer’s bass is just barking! For a second, the guitar riff in this song has this almost Eastern sounding flavour attached to it. Then, the song shifts from brutal to melodic and then brutal once again. The last song on the record is a re-recorded version of Epitaph of the Creulous taken from the Breeding the Spawn. Despite the not-so-polished production, Suffocation’s second album is criminally underrated and it may stand shoulder to shoulder to Pierced from Within. Now every single song from that album has been re-recorded and these new versions are scattered over Suffocation’s discography. Gotta love the bass sound in this version!
Suffocation’s ...of the Dark Light is one of the greatest albums of 2017. ! Hands down to whoever produced this album! Every instrument sounds just perfect! On this one, Suffocation sounds like as if the monster from Effigy of the Forgotten album cover had risen to life! It is easy to say that ...of the Dark Light will end up as the best album of 2017 (if Gorguts doesn’t do something about it).