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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)