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This album was described as a "bastard mix of Carcass and Voivod". That is actually not far from the truth. This CD was my introduction to this band and I must say that I am intrigued at just how innovative this band is. A lot of bands I have heard lately have been more copy-cat versions of bands they claim to draw influences from, but Supuration know where to draw this line. From the progressive elements all the way to the death and even slight thrash elements, this band can take any mixture of these influences and make it work. I have not heard an album in this genre this innovative and original since Cynic's "Focus". To the typical metal fan, it may be hard to grasp the concept of what the band is going for here. However, if you have an open mind and are wanting something fresh and new and perhaps a little unusual then this just might be what you are looking for.
Besides the aforementioned influences of Carcass and Voivod, which can be easily noticed, other influences such as ...And Oceans, Crematory, Aborym and Newer Samael can also be heard. Vocally, this album is somewhere between Carcass "Heartwork" and "Swansong" era with a little mixture of "Act Seven" and "Believe" era Crematory for a little added flavor. The vocal patterns used here really set the tunes off and blend very well with these fantastic metal orchestrations. The lyrical concepts are a tad abstract but that just adds to the aura of the tunes presented here. They definitely leave you thinking. As for the riffing and drumwork, they seem to use the traditional progressive death metal format with a touch of gothic and industrial genres just to make things that much more brutal and interesting. There might be others who may say that this doesn't fit the definition of brutal as compared to other bands but it's all in how you perceive the hard work put in to an album such as this as well as the delivery of such a masterpiece. You can tell from the first listen of this CD that these guys worked very hard in the construction of this metal gem.
I want to urge everyone wanting to check out new bands or those wanting a breath of fresh air in the extreme metal world to definitely check this band and CD out. These guys are here to take this genre to the next level. Like I said earlier, this is my first introduction to the band so i need to backtrack and check out their back catalogue. Aside from that, you cannot create a CD of this magnitude and go unnoticed for very long. This will find a lot of time in my stereo and I will also be putting it on my MP3 player. The thick sound and production on top of everything else, make this a listening experience that you will be sure to remember for a long time to come.
Ah. Good old death metal. Fuel to my fire, cultivator of my soul, heroin to my junkie ears, long-haired rebel with mommy issues to my amorous heart… light of my life. From geniuses Death to creative masterminds Atheist to even freakin’ Children of Bodom, any artist belonging to a genre with the word “death” in it has made my life so much more worth living. And then there’s Supuration, self-described as “avant-garde death metal”. Huh?
Reading through whatever information I could find about the band, painfully searching through the Wikipedia article “experimental metal” for further clues, I came to several conclusions like the Nancy Drew nerd I am: 1. Supuration is obsessed with science fiction. 2. Avant-garde death metal is “kind of” an officiall thing. 3. Combine the two above conclusions, and you’ll find that whatever the product is, is strange, but pretty cool. “Synergy Awakes” begins with a generic heavy breakdown-type intro that was just straight up death metal fun, and then suddenly you hear these reggae-inspired cutesy little Pop-ish guitars in the background that work like some kind of rainbow and unicorns auditory assault surfing in the background of vocalist Ludovic Loez’s deep growls and the song’s typical death metal staple riffs and rhythms.
Weird. But pretty interesting. It reminded me of everything quirky and strange about metal in general that seems to have been lost through the ages in various band’s desires to come off more manly and macho than sensitive and experimental. I continued listening to the record and came up with a new conclusion. Supuration has a very novel and interesting way of comprehending melodies and harmonies. This becomes apparent in the guitar work and the sudden outbursts of melodic singing dabbled here and there throughout the songs that totally caught me off guard but at the same time made sense because hey, they’re avant-garde.
A fourth conclusion was begging to be formed, and I just had to settle with the slightly snotty, ignorantly arrogant conclusion that “they’re not really refined”. I felt like slapping myself because in all honestly, they’re probably a million times more refined musically than I am, but then again, that’s what most reviewers go through. We’re just a bunch of people sitting at home pretending to sound like we studied the art of metal and sludge through our piles of promos to criticise and cut apart each metal song we hear pretending we can produce anything close to it. Wait, maybe that’s just me. Anyway, back to the point: I felt like the band, musically, was not exactly refined mostly because of the simple solos and the off-kilter way the band seemed to process harmonies and melodies.
Now, that was my initial feeling. I listened on, and the record is certainly listenable as their record company Listenable Records suggests, and then I realized that I was wrong and that this should be one record to appreciate. I thought back to why I got into heavy metal in the first place, and I could only think about three reasons: 1. The devil-may-care attitude. 2. Fearlessness to experiment. 3. Constant rebelling against the norm. Supuration fits all these criteria and what more in their own special way. They have a fusion streak about them. For some reason I heard some folk metal, pop, alternative, goth, and of course death and doom metal. They are the most special band I have ever heard, and I mean special in a good way.
I like strange things and love it even more when a band is proudly waving its flag of eccentricity. Did I enjoy the record? Shamelessly, I did. Would I recommend it to just anybody? No. I would recommend the album enthusiastically but with reservation of who I approach. Metalheads established in their tastes usually have a leaning towards extreme metal genres such as death and all that is heavier. I don’t think they would enjoy this record much because it leans too far towards general craziness and sometimes the “metalness” is not very apparent. I also wouldn’t recommend this record to rockers either, who are only going to use this record to justify the existence of "Have a Nice Day", "Chinese Democracy", "Black Ice" and other hard rock banes of a metalhead's existence. I would recommend this record to anybody and I mean anybody with an open-mind. They could be listening to Taylor Swift regularly but still enjoy this record. I would also recommend this record to anybody who is freshly getting into Metal. I would imagine that in the purest stage of their growth, these fledging metalheads would appreciate this album for its sheer novelty. As for me, I will now be developing a playlist called “Awesome and Weird Shit” with CU3E as the benchmark.
Originally written for http:///www.metal-temple.com
Supuration - Cube 3 (PR2013)
First and foremost, if you're looking for something different in the realms of death metal, go check out Supuration. These guys have been around since 1989 and also developed a side project called S.U.P. that dealt in prog. This album is the third part of their cube saga called Cube 3 and even though it seems to lack the originality of the second part of the saga, Incubation, the new release makes up for the title with what lurks in the music itself. Progressive death metal assaults occur here with definite gravel vocals and a clean approach that reminds me of Enslaved, just with death metal instead of black metal (but give them time, seeing as they covered so much crap on Riitiir), and the whole thing comes off as refreshing and unique.
There. I said it. Unique. These days, many bands try to be too unique and wind up sounding just completely odd altogether (not that I don't mind that), but hearing a group of guys that just make a subtle difference really comes off as something of a musical gift to my ears. The first thing you'll notice about Supuration is that the music isn't necessarily fast even when the drums blast. They also don't seem to be interested in bludgeoning and even if the drums are pounding in places like "The Delegation 5:32" where you will still hear a slight clean vocal interjection (The Disenthrall 2:20.). Yes, this is a different kind of death metal, so leave all of your expectations at the door.
You might consider this odd, but I feel as if I might have to listen to this album one more time, even though I listened to it a few days prior during the listening process that I give each and every album I review. There's just so much going on within this music ("Consumate 6:09", for example) that I literally am having a hard time breaking it down in to a consumable package for words to convey. France has given us a lot of great musical exports with Gojira being one of the most well known, but I must inform you lovers of sweeps that these guys sound absolutely nothing like Gojira. This is certainly progressive death metal of a unique flair (I wouldn't even liken them to Opeth, in all honesty) that is not only interesting, but off-kilter in many aspects and incredibly listenable. The words "highly recommended" should certainly appear in 72" font, but I will instead leave you with that observation instead of actually doing what would come off as ridiculous.
One other thing that I need to explain about this band is that Supuration are death metal. The music is certainly backed with all the grim and unwelcoming atmosphere that you might expect, but it certainly seems like the soundtrack to a really fucked up sci-fi film that I've never seen and certainly want to. There are metal magazines and other blogs that will probably say "yeah, it's okay", but I don't feel that some of these reviewers are literally listening to the music, just skimming through and making way for what's next on their plate (mainly noting Decibel) so they can go home and listen to the music that they want to listen to. I sometimes feel as if some of these reviewers consider reviewing discs to be a chore. Like "oh man, they sent me more albums. I really wanted to listen to the band x album" and my response to that is to check out the promos first. There's a big chance that you'll discover something in there that you will like better than the "band x" album, or the chance that band x's new album is as good as you would've liked. That happens.
But as far as Surpuration goes, I'm giving it a perfect ten and here is the reason for that. It's different, it's original and not something you've heard over and over again by bands with the same sounds and different names. The execution on the album is perfect; it's death metal with a progressive nature that sounds 100% different from any other band out there doing progressive death metal. Most of them draw on Opeth. These guys do not. They were out before Opeth, if you can believe it. The melodies are catchy, intriguing, and a bit odd, which I find appealing, and the vocals meld well enough to come across as anything that Enslaved played clean and harsh with while still maintaining the death metal origins of the band. If these guys don't get known for this record here in the states, then I would consider myself completely incompetent in my reviewing abilities and the genre of metal doomed.
This is what I wanted to hear in 2013. These guys brought it. Go check it out.
Highlights: Cube 3 (9 Tracks, 41:00)
Well before Blut Aus Nord and Deathspell Omega underwent their eclectic evolutions, France had always harbored a number of unusual extreme metal acts like the industrial-tinged Treponem Pal or the quirky progressive death/doom metallers Supuration. The latter of these very early adopted a unique approach to their niche which you would think more people might have appreciated over the years. The band's arguable cult classic The Cube (1993) never quite garnered the requisite attention to take them to the next level, and then they made an even more quirky transformation into S.U.P., an alter ego/separate project under which they've released most of their material thus far. Every so often, though, the 'brand' entity will revert back to Supuration, and they'll produce something along the lines of the debut, which leads us to CU3E, a sort of 'semi-sequel' to the original.
It's got the similar, minimalistic and abstract cover artwork (which even gives an infant passing nod to the band's 2003 sophomore Incubation), and that cheesy retrofuturistic logo font (though to be fair, it's better looking than their old, messy 'death metal' logo). I once had a friend describe Supuration as an alternative to late 80s Voivod with a guttural vocalist, and to be honest, it wasn't that far off the mark, but there's quite a lot happening in CU3E, even if it's not a technical or complex recording. The Frenchmen incorporate all manner of mathematical, discordant rhythms into driving beats, and then weave in all manner of sad and longing melodies redolent of doom or Gothic metal alongside the punchy death/thrashing of the guitars. As if Paradise Lost was composing its own Dimension Hatross. You get a very good balance of grooves and melodies, and in addition they implement some mid-register, nasally clean vocals alongside the blunt growl which is primarily responsible for tethering the band to the death metal genre. A lot of the guitars use these simple, staccato melodies to create a spatial feel to the material, and most of the riffing is concise and compartmental: which is, unfortunately, where I seemed to have lost most of my interest.
I admire this band's individuality, and always have, but its approach is not always synonymous with quality. Apart from a few predictable but emotional chord progressions, like that of "The Flight", the riffs are just not all that inspired, derived from fairly standard death/doom patterns with a little more uptempo pep than you'd find on some slower, crushing album. I guess I'm more partial to the glimmering, depressive open chords that they elicit on occasion, where the music takes on a more 'factory' like, semi-industrial sheen, but even there the note choices are somewhat less than stunning. Many of the rhythm tracks seem like they're interested in little more than seating the melodies, which are themselves not all that memorable. The same could be said for the vocals: after hearing a handful of the grunts, you've heard them all, and the cleans are merely present to add some contrast, or render them more avant-garde by the very virtue of their existence. Some of them are downright awkward, as in "The Incongruents" (I guess they are true to the title).
In terms of production, I think CU3E is actually decent. It's bright, percussive, and the guitars have just enough rip and coil on them to feel unique. The bass is voluminous, even if it rarely manifests in anything that deviates interestingly from the rhythm guitar, and the drums alternate between slower rock grooves or a more subdued mid-paced near-blast as in "Consumate". But in terms of musical architecture, this just doesn't feel as artsy, bizarre or 'experimental' as I would expect Supuration to be writing 20 whole years after The Cube, which remains their finest hour. Hell, I'd love to hear these guys flex themselves into something far more aggressive. Uncanny. Discordant. I realize that's not exactly their 'thing', but it'd be more appealing than this underwhelming, clinical, aesthetic tribute to the debut which doesn't strive for much more. A band as unique as Supuration will always have a place at my table, but I just wasn't feeling this selection of songs, either independently or as a closure to their longstanding trilogy.