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A true underground classic - 95%

enigmatech, April 20th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Vic Records

Suffocated Truth is the debut album from the long-running German death metal kings Obscenity. Originally released in 1992 (and not available again in it's entirety until this 2015 reissue - which itself is already pretty hard to find), this album is pretty well regarded by true death metal aficionados like yours truly, but tends to get lost in the shuffle a bit (along with the band itself, sadly) compared to releases I'd consider far less notable like those released by even other German acts such as Torchure, Lemming Project, Jumpin' Jesus, etc (all of which are fine, mind you, but hardly what I personally would deem as essentials or classics)...certainly the album's limited distribution plays into this significantly, but regardless - it will always be a classic in my mind, and a shining example of the purity and spirit of the then-burgeoning death metal scene that's still shining to this very day.

Obscenity's style is (and has remained) a very meat-and-potatoes, Floridian approach to the genre, with obvious influences from Death, Obituary, and Deicide, as well as bands like Malevolent Creation and Monstrosity. Still though, I feel that Obscenity were able to take those influences and come up with something that felt original and inspired enough to work. Just listen to the fucking crushing main riff to "Ruthless Greed" and try to claim they were in any way "copy cats"! Tracks like "Utter Disgust" (which is nothing less than a death metal anthem - basically Obscenity's equivalent to "Chapel of Ghouls") also exemplify the band's impressive songwriting chops - even at this early stage, mixing skull-grinding fast-paced riffs with fist-pumping thrash passages in a way that keeps the listener engaged and headbanging from beginning to end (even the weird ambient passage adds something unique and kind of creepy to the mix). They say variety is the spice of life, and that's truly the case here - the songs weave in and out from fast & blistering, to slow & crushing, to mid-paced & catchy without losing any momentum or force, the band excel at every angle - keeping the listener engaged all the way, something especially impressive given the relatively long average track length here (around 5 to 6 minutes).

The vocals on this album are performed by Oli Jauch, who would remain the band's vocalist for the first 20 years of their existence - so, get used to him! Here, however, he performs a style completely different from any of his later releases with this band. Instead of the deep, powerful Benton-esque death grunts he would later adopt (which are only used sparingly in the background here), on Suffocated Truth he instead performs an agonised, higher-range growl not unlike John Tardy (though far from identical). While I can imagine some people being a bit turned off by this approach - as it's quite unique, and it personally took me a few listens to really get used to it, now I absolutely love it - I think he sounds fucking deranged, like a rabies-infected beast foaming at the mouth! It fits perfectly to the fast-paced riffs and adds alot to the atmosphere and mystique of the band. I'd also like to address the production...though notably raw, I absolutely love the way this album sounds. It's naturally very dirty and rough, but consistently powerful and adds a lot of "bite" to the guitar riffs and aforementioned vocal performance. The guitar tone has a very "crunchy" quality and makes me feel like I'm getting vivisected by rusty blades, the drums feel like I'm being dragged at high speeds down a long gravel road, the bass is like getting punched in the gut repeatedly - all feelings any true death metal fan would love, obviously!

Really, the production is what really sells this whole thing for, this album isn't pristine or perfect, but it doesn't need to be (in fact, that would probably suck!). It really embodies and perfectly captures the rabid, wild spirit of a young, burgeoning death metal band that's ready to take on the world (and would proceed to do exactly that, against all odds - as they're still violently kicking 30 fucking years later). My point is, when you listen to Suffocated Truth, it's the sound of a band that means fucking business. Trust me, these guys are not fucking around, and don't spare any of the 45-ish minutes printed on this disc to crush your brains in the most enjoyable way imaginable. It's rare that you hear a band, especially one that's been relegated to the sub-underground like Obscenity, that plays with this much fire and passion - this is something special, and that's why - regardless of it's popularity or noteriety in the wider scope of the international death metal scene, it will always be a diamond in the rough in my eyes. Take it from me, if you love old school death metal, this is essential.