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The live album, it’s something that captures the energy and skill of a band in a raw environment without any room for second takes. Suffocation’s first live album in their career harnesses this power and assaults the listener with a set list that spans their entire discography. Songs from the Human Waste EP up until Souls to Deny are represented here, while not relying to heavily on one particular album. Since this was recorded during their tour for Souls to Deny, that album has the most songs present, a total of four whereas the other albums have one or two songs from each. The sound quality is raw but this just adds to the experience, if this was as overproduced as the latest Suffocation album it just wouldn’t have the same feeling.
As for the musicians, everyone sounds right on fucking point. Frank’s vocal work is some of the best that he has ever done. Between songs he will interact with the crowd, which I enjoyed hearing because it adds an element of them being on the same level as the fans, not feeling superior because they are up on the stage. Terrance and Guy both shred the fuck out of these songs live, you will never even notice that Doug Cerrito is no longer in the band. The solos they perform are slightly different than their studio counterparts, but still well played. Derek’s bass is present but not highly audible in the mix during most of the show, you can tell it’s there but when it comes to rhythm most Suffocation fans will pay more attention to the drumming of Mike Smith. I was absolutely fucking blown away by Mike’s drumming sounding this great on a live recording. It’s technical and precise and just sounds like he is attempting to destroy his kit.
This is a must own for all Suffocation fans, and may even serve those new to the band as a good starting point. I had to order my copy direct from Suffocation’s website, I don’t think you can find this one in stores. But it is well worth searching out, you will have no regrets. This band continues to this day being heavily imitated but nobody will ever surpass them in terms of skill and songwriting. It may be the close of a chapter but it’s the continuation of a fucking legacy as kings in the realm of death metal.
I had yet to ever capture the live ferocity of a Suffocation show, since unfortunately I have bever had cash at the opportune time whenever they came to town. However, after hearing this live album "The Close of a Chapter", I will not miss them again!
The setlist is awesome, with tracks ranging from Human Waste(Catatonia) to Souls to Deny(Surgery of Impalement). This record only proves that no matter what era of Suffocation you listen to, it's all crushing and it's all very very good.
Guitarists Terrance Hobbs and Guy Marchais form a tight duo, maybe not as great as when Cerrito was in the band, definitely fucking great nonetheless. The riffs are performed tightly and executed well and the guitar solos are wild. The only thing is that the sound could be better, but it doesn't ruin the record or anything. On drums Mike Smith is razor sharp and never misses a beat. He specifically shines during "Pierced from Within" which has very complex time changes and rythm patterns. He also hits fucking hard on the skin as you can tell from the resonance he gets.
However I must say that this record belongs to Frank Mullen. The singer offers a variety of his many styles of vocal delivery. Sometimes he offers a more clear sounding pronounciation a la Pierced from Within, and he also turns up the gurgle on tracks such as "Effigy of the Forgotten". His stage command is excellent as he constantly interacts with the crowd and calls for old school circle pits.
The setlist, as previously mentionned, is filled with goodies. Old classics such as "Breeding the Spawn" and "Liege of Inveracity" are mixed with rarer tracks such as the aforementioned "Catatonia" as well as the title track of their 1998 EP "Despise the Sun".
All in all the sound is brutal, and crushing and, well... Suffocating! Which is exactly what you want when listening to this legendary death metal band.
All I have to say is Horns Up!