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Wow, I cannot say how satisfied I am with this album. It is strong in every aspect. After not releasing anything for so long, you would expect Suffokate to come back with an absolutely solid effort, and indeed they did. Through many lineup changes, this is no doubt at least a somewhat different sound from Oakland,
The vocals are definitely the biggest pro of the album, with Ricky Hoover's strong power and anger in his voice. His constant change between high and low screams helps not only show his talent, but also his capability. He is comparable to vocalists such as Phil Bozeman, Brooke Reeves, or Scott Lewis. Another thing I found to be very cool was the drums. Lars Diaz' tight drumming and insanely fast double bass is more than impressive, and he too shows his talent very well. Guitar wise, Taylor Jones and Tesoro Protomartir work very well together cohesively. The awesome riffs, the ability to work in unison together, and the hard hitting brutality of their chugging is very cool. Sadly, there is not much to say about bass which is unfortunate because I think that bassist Bray Almini has actual talent and that it just isn't at its full display. The most notable part is closely towards the end of Force Fed, he throws in an actually very cool sounding bass line.
The album's production is solid, the only issue being that the bass is barely audible, if not completely inaudible. The breakdowns are quite good, my only issue being that there are a little too many of them but this does not bother me too much since I am used to so many. The best tracks are Constant Urge to Kill, Force Fed, Not the Fallen, and No Purpose In Life. Overall, this is a fantastic album from fantastic musicians who are very skilled in what they do. This is definitely an underrated band, as most deathcore fans aren't too familiar with them as they are with the classics such as Whitechapel or Carnifex. It's a shame because Suffokate raises the bar and adds a fresh taste to the genre which is sure to be more than impressive with fans of the genre.However, my only complaint would be that there's nothing that makes this album very unique, or sets it apart too much. If you like deathcore, I highly recommend this album, you're in for a huge treat.
I'm sure I won't be making any ground breakingly unique statement when I say that deathcore is a terrible genre. While not an inherently awful music style, the bands who perform it have a tendency to pretty much be a carbon copy of every other band, doing little, if anything, at all inventive or creative to give themselves an identity and instead just go the safe route of doing it the same way that works for everybody else. On a slightly more petty note, deathcore bands also have a tendency to be the anthem groups for the "kewl" group of 13 year olds who hate their parents because they had to wake up a half hour early on Sunday for church, but that's a different story. Regardless Suffokate seems to be just another by-the-book deathcore project right off the assembly line, offering absolutely nothing to demand the attention of any listener curious enough to waste their time on it.
You see, Suffokate manage to sound like something close to a complete knock off of every deathcore band out there. Sounding almost *exactly* like every DC band I can think of, yet lacks any and all aspects of those groups that make them good, or at the very least halfway tolerable. Lets start with the riffing. They consist of chugging, chugging and a slightly more chugging, with the (very) occasional solo thrown in for good measure. There is no variety whatsoever. The result of really doing the same riff over and over again makes (suprise, suprise) every song sounds damn near the same. Along with this, many songs follow a very similar structure, tone and tempo, only adding to the ridiculous tedium of the album. The obsessively overused breakdowns doesn't help, as when one horribly generic breakdown crops up, there are another fifty immediately following it up. They all just plod along, doing their thang, being "br00tal'' and all without ever doing anything even remotely interesting, likable or different in any way shape or form. Leaving no impression whatsoever, save for the impression that maybe I was wasting my time.
The vocals are also generic and run of the mill as possible. They sound like the poor man's Thy Art is Murder vocals just that much more unappealing. They lack charisma and character, just typical throaty lows and screeches, never ever do they entice interest, and a good amount of the time sound passionless and forced. It's like the vocalist just didn't really care and just went through the motions. To add to this is the lyrics, which, like everything else, are predictable and generic to a near shocking degree. The typical adolescent deathcore lyrical themes of anger, murder and rage that only puberty and teenage angst can provide. Generally, every song (and I do mean every song) are the typical "watch out, we got a badass over here!" themes, being about how much he hates the world, torturing and murdering somebody, or torturing and murdering somebody because he hates the world. Since a running theme in the lyrics is revenge, I would assume that the lyrics are motivated by having their lunch money stolen, having to do extra chores around the house or being forced by their parents to go to bed early.
This is an album that leaves no impression from start to finish, and by the end of the album I can safely say that I've forgotten almost all of it. Its an amateurish album that is repetitive, generic and unbearably boring. Even if you like deathcore, trust me, there is nothing worth of any attention here. Avoid.
WOW! If I ever need a few album to remind me why deathcore is so universally despised, it'll be made up of something from Emmure, Chelsea Grin and this album. This is quite honestly one of the worst things i've ever heard.
Ricky Hoover is an absolute run of the mill vocalist. Think Scott from Carnifex with no charisma. His growls are bland and have no character, and his screams are the same. They're double tracked a lot too, a practice which rarely works out well. He is a terrible lyricist as well. At least, I assume he writes the lyrics. If he doesn't, i'd gladly believe Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta did, as they follow the same overcome problems/get revenge formula.
The guitars are basically Whitechapel worship right down to the guitar tone, except unlike Whitechapel they don't know how to write varied riffs. Constant chugging. It's like they're trying to write slams, but falling extremely short of the position. However, I will give the guitarists this. They know how to work their way around a solo. Maybe if they played more of these, the score would be brought up significantly.
The breakdowns (or breakdown, as they're all the same one used over and over) are used far too often. You'd think a band trying to be Whitechapel would do what Whitechapel did and use breakdowns tastefully, but alas, it was not to be, and they plague this album. Did you ever have those annoying cousins who everytime you saw them you were like "Fuck. Not them"? It's the same with these breakdowns. Every time one is played you'll be thinking "Jesus. Another one?"
The drummer is a competent musician, and manages to keep the album holding some interest throughout it's duration, but nearly everything he plays goes into a breakdown, which is a complete waste of his talent.
The bass, as i'm sure you can predict, is nowhere to be heard. Oh well. He's probably just following the guitars anyway.
This is 35 minutes of the most tedious deathcore ever produced. Even Emmure held my attention better than these guys. Avoid this like the plague, though if your curiosity does get the better of you, make sure you have a pillow, as you'll need something comfy to fall asleep on.