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It's not often that you find an album that can really suck you in and take you on a journey. Supuration's The Cube is one of those rare cases, where the music is well done and each track possesses a similarly eerie atmosphere, a feeling of being trapped inside a cube. It's a fantastic effort, a sound that transcends the constraints of a genre and delivers plain old good music.
It's apparent from the beginning that this isn't a typical death metal album. There are slow, mid-tempo, and some slightly up-tempo sections, but you never get the feeling that this is a blistering death metal record. Instead, you get pretty simplistic, almost pop-like melodies, subtle drum patterns, and shifts between growled/screamed vocals and strange, and effect-laden clean vocal harmonies. Mind you, it can get pretty heavy and headbangable, but that isn't the aim of this music. No, there's a certain majestic, graceful feel to each track. Every guitar piece, every drum pattern, every vocal line flows effortlessly from section to section, retelling a story passed down from generations, a futuristic token of the past. I can't praise the vocal work enough, it isn't technically impressive, but what it adds to the music is indescribable. Tracks like The Elevation and The Enlightenment gain so much from the chorus-soaked voices and deep growls, it feels like a long distance radio transmission, coming from some deep region of space. This band understands that being progressive does not mean going completely overboard with showboating, every part has its place and connects to the overall picture like that missing puzzle piece.
I decided to knock off 5 points because, even though I can't find a fault with the album, I don't hold the album in the same place as I do an Altars of Madness or a Nespithe. But as an original body of music, Supuration delivers in every possible way. The re-issue gives you three bonus tracks that fit just as perfectly as the previous songs, an astounding accomplishment considering how different most bonus tracks feel compared to the album material. If you can purchase a copy, I really encourage you to do so. It's a mystery how this band is overlooked by many metal circles, but for those who take the time to give this a spin, you'll experience a tale unlike any other.
The French scene doesn't put out a lot of really groundbreaking stuff, but for those couple of masterpieces that do rise out of it, they're generally unorthodox and don't get the recognition that I feel they deserve (Loudblast's Sublime Dementia, Misanthrope's Visionaire, Anorexia Nervosa's Exile...all great albums). Supuration is no different. And even though I generally hate concept albums (unless their done by King Diamond), these dudes pull off a very intelligent and original story about the afterlife.
Judging just by the bizarre cover art, you know that you're getting into something different. An acoustic intro sets you up before blam! "The Elevation" kicks you square in the face. It's maybe not the most brutal thing in the world, but the this song fucking rolls! The guitars sound brutal, but somewhat like they were recorded with extraterrestrial robot technology, especially when they choose to throw in a melodic riff. Though the vocals are mostly deep, deep growls, when the clean vocals show up, heavily accented, but sounding wholly alien and bizarre. The guitar solos on this song are probably the best on the album, as well.
"The Cube" is the best song on here, and I can't think of a more compelling song. It starts off with a simple choppy, Voivod-esque riff, before being replaced by a galloping drum beat and a heavy as fuck guitar pulse, before returning again, time and time again, sometimes in a slightly different form. This is supposedly about what happens when the poor carachter in the story dies..."But there's nothing to see, no walls, no ground, not one part of my body," is quite an apt description of what it must be like, and the music is certainly a more than accurate aural accompaniment to the after life. This almost beats "The Apparition" by Fates Warning for the best song about the afterlife.
"The Accomplishment" is another driving song, and on here the clean vocals are used fucking perfectly. Even though it doesn't make much sense to me when I hear "I feel free from my lost agonies," I think I can feel what the meaning is...it's powerful.
Each song is entirely different, but most main elements are represented on here: crushing riffs and vocals a la Carcass, a few odd sounding acoustic moments, clean vocals, and tasteful melodies. While I'm not a big fan of clean vocals and a lot of melodies in my death metal, Supuration uses them sparingly, and only when it serves as the absolute orgasm of the song. There are small intro pieces between the songs which serve to keep the momentum going, and these are far from essential but do their purpose well.
There are only a few weaker moments, namely the last two songs, which just don't measure up when put alongside the really, really strong songs like "The Accomplishment," "The Cube" and "The Elevation."
I can kind of compare this to the bastard child of Carcass and Voivod, sort of like some alien autopsy or abduction soundtrack. Listening back to Anorexia Nervosa's first album, I think that this album must have had an influence on it, so at least someone listened to this masterpiece!
Back in 1993. The death metal scene is still very big all around the world. In France, Loudblast, Agressor, No Return and Massacra already are active. Coming from the same area as Loudblast come another promising band called Supuration. This band has been around for more than 3 years, has released lots of demotapes and vinyl EPs and even a demo CD. 'til there this was just another death metal among a billion of death metal bands but "The cube" arrived.
Coming in a nice digipak (including lyrics) which was not really common in 1993 when the crystal box was still reigning, Supuration, with its brutal death/goregrind name provides us a musical UFO, far away from usual death metal stuff. The music is still even and even death metal with heavy guitars and growls but there is also clear vocals and a lot of original guitar parts. The music is very hard to describe, it's dark, oppressive, catchy and very original... Most of all it's cold. Colder than most of black metal bands. Tempos are slow or mid, the band prefer crushing your brain from the inside, not by exploding your ears with tons of blasts. One of the only influence that can be heard here is Voivod. The cyber futuristic spirit of Voivod is here but in a personal version. Listen to this band and if you can say "oh, this really looks like XXX", then call me ;-)
Like all the albums of the band (under this name or under the name of SUP), this one is a concept album. Like all of their concepts, this one is about sci-fi. At the beginning of the album, we can hear someone who is speaking and just after that this person commit suicide. Then the whole album is about what is happening to him (or her, we don't know yet at this moment...), what he (or she) is seeing and feeling. in 1993 and 1994, during their european tour supporting Suffocation, the band used to play the whole album as it is on the CD, in order to "tell" the whole story.
13 years later, I still listen this album really often. This CD is now very hard to find but there was a remastered version with some bonus tracks which was released a few years later. This one can be found more easily.
If you're looking for something very original, give this one a try !