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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!