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Criminally overlooked and underrated - 95%

masscows, August 11th, 2008

Suffocation's second full-length album, Breeding the Spawn is often regarded by the foolish as lacking in comparison to Suffocation's other early work. However, Breeding the Spawn does alot of things right and manages to set itself apart from Effigy of the Forgotten and Pierced From Within quite a bit with a few touches unique to this album. In all actuality, this album would probably be held in even higher regard than Suffocation's other work if not for some small flaws.

One aspect that Breeding the Spawn succeeds in is its not-so-subtle incorporation of melodic sections. Whereas Effigy of the Forgotten used jagged and dissonant melody to add to its barbarism and brutality, and Pierced From Within used melody as a connective tool, Breeding the Spawn thrives on the fact that both of these melodic approaches are incorporated and also consonant "pleasant" melody is used frequently and to great effect. From the harmonized lead section in "Anomalistic Offering" to the jazzy bridges in "Beginning of Sorrow" and "Prelude to Repulsion", Suffocation succeeds at giving the songs the variety necessary to stay interesting throughout. Another huge plus is that the bass really gets a chance to shine through with several sections featuring the bass as lead instrument. These are most noticeable in the title track, "Epitaph of the Credulous", "Prelude to Repulsion" and "Ignorant Deprivation". The bass guitar in general is mixed very well and can be heard throughout, which for death metal is very important. Also, Suffocation's patented brutal doomy breaks are at their absolute best here, with each one bringing the ultimate headbanging glory and each one being very different from the next.

Though, like said before, Breeding the Spawn is not without its detractors. The most common complaint about this album is the production, and the complaints aren't without some basis. Sometimes the production leaves the riffing indistinct and only somewhat decipherable. During blasting sections especially, the riffing is pretty much degraded to completely indecipherable buzzing. This is probably in part because to begin with, Suffocation were trying to achieve a wall of sound effect with simplistic, percussive riffing to accompany the blastbeats, but the production essentially strips away the melodic value of said blasting sections. Also, the guitars on "Epitaph of the Credulous" and "Ignorant Deprivation" sound like they were recorded through a cardboard tube, leaving an odd and constant buzzing above the guitars themselves. The mix is reasonably clear albeit lacking distinction, in the end sounding more like a well-produced demo than a studio album. Now, are these wholly bad things? No, not at all. Actually, the production is another thing about Breeding the Spawn that really adds to its uniqueness within Suffocation's catalog, and it enhances the presentation of the music by giving it a raw and primitive sense of aggression that death metal should be aiming for.

All in all, Breeding the Spawn is just as good if not better than Suffocation's other classics, and is definitely worth picking up for fans who may have heard the wrong opinion that the production makes it unlistenable (where that notion came from is a mystery to me) and took it seriously. Minor 'flaws' aside, Breeding the Spawn is an excellent example of death metal done right and would make a worthy addition to any metal collection.