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Having lost my entire hard drive due to reasons unknown, I was left to listen to some older albums of mine. This is one CD which is undeniably underplayed in my death metal collection. Suffocation have made a modern day death metal gem. It appears as though they tried to step into the shoes of the most depraved beings on the planet : the BTK killer and songs with terrorism references. The result is a very heavy, death metal assault led by Mike Smith's ungodly drumming.
About Mike Smith's drumming, he seems to purposefully play some of the rhythms in a very non-standard way and the result is refreshing. For example, the song "Bind Torture Kill" has some very unique drum patterns which you're not likely to find on any other death metal release. When the tandem of Guy Marchais and Terrance Hobbs speed up their riffing from apocalyptic strumming to shredding guitar solos, the results are as unique and original as Mike Smith's drumming. The guitars are tuned down considerably, but in contrast to the very audible bass lines and the frenetic drumming of Mike Smith, the lower tuned guitars fit the music perfectly.
There seems to be a lack of solos on this album on first listen, but that is not an issue because it is neutralized by the fact that the riffs are incredible technical and mind bending. The riffs, in conjunction with Frank Mullen's incredibly articulated and coherent death metal vocals, form a violent canvas for these technical death metal masters to work with. Even when they try slower doom-like riffs on "Misconceived", the results are excellent, because they know when to speed it up just the right amount at just the right time. And that is what separates the upper echelon technical death metal bands from the wannabes. The time and effort these guys put into this album really shows on every single song, every time signature change is very well thought out.
The first half of the album is purely acidic in nature. This is Suffocation at their most pissed off. The lyrics for the most part are very well written, even to the gore themed "Entrails of You". At the end of the day, it's Frank's excellent vocals, incredibly tight riffing, equally tight bass playing and drumming from outer fucking space which make this album a classic. Luckily for the listener, the second half is just as good as the first half.
Songs like "Regret" feature some insanely technical riffs accompanied by insane drumming. The last three songs on the album are all awesome as well : "Entrails Of You", "The End Of Ends" and "Prelude To Repulsion" are all as enjoyable as anything on the first half of the album. So does it have it's flaws? Sure, some of the songs seem a bit repetitive. But honestly, I can't find a single song which isn't way above average. Sometimes you wish they'd play more solos, but when they play solos like on "Creed of the Infidel" it makes them just that much more enjoyable. After neglecting this CD for a few months, I am kicking myself in the ass after listening to it again because it is just that fucking good. If you like brutal/technical death metal of the highest order with insane instrumentation and apocalyptic lyrics, look no further.