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Way Better Than I Expected - 80%

Petrus_Steele, April 24th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2017, CD, Nuclear Blast

I remember when I listened to this album for the first time, I thought it should've been titled to ...Of the Lost Cause, due to the ever presented underwhelming material. After listening to this album again in quite a while, I realized I was badly mistaken for the success in it, for what the band made; a successful record. By far it beats all the three predecessors and the best Suffocation release since Souls to Deny. The production is great, the band yet had another change in the lineup (though it delivered and did its job as it should), and the songs are interestingly better. I also want to give a shout-out to the bass's production since it hints the return of the technical side of the band, rather than the known brutal one, and perhaps even shows Derek's technicality. It's presented better than ever on this record.

...Of the Dark Light presents major changes that I think would follow through the band's future: two former members, Guy Marchais & Dave Culross had left the band (not sure why Dave left, but with Guy's reason I think was traveling issues or he moved to a whole different state in the country) and were replaced by two lucky youngsters (whom now I wish I talked with when I had the chance before they performed in the live show I was in), Charlie Errigo (surprisingly enough played in the exact two bands that Guy was once in: Pyrexia and Internal Bleeding), the new guitarist, and Eric Morotti, the new and official drummer who was working for the band for quite some time as a drum technician. Both dudes helped and delivered a modernly sound that Suffocation incorporated during their own teens; or relatively just Terrance & Frank. As for Frank, this record is supposedly his last, as he hinted retirement during that time (and officially retired like months ago to this day, writing this review).

The album's opening track, Clarity Though Deprivation mesmerizes the old sound of the band, with fairly blasted drums, great guitars work, technical and enjoyable bass work, and Frank delivering his crushing death growls once again, along an awesome Suffocation-ish breakdown. The second single, Return to the Abyss showcased the bass's sound from the likes of Pierced from Within, which was brutally technical in that regard. The main riff and guitar solos are great, not to mention the ending's second guitar accompanying with weak chorus effect, to make for an atmospheric ending. The Violation is a fairly simple track, yet maintained to stay enjoyable throughout the entire track, as well as providing melodic chorus. Perhaps one of the band's easier songs around. The title track brings in even more powerful and crushing guitar solos and power chords, prominent bass guitar (especially in the outro), along with what I think is the band's sickest breakdown. It's slow, heavy, and powerful. The track in itself sounds shorter than the provided time length, but it makes a lot more in that said-felt short time. Some Things Should Be Left Alone is a very Nile-influenced track, judging by the guitar riffs; being both technical and melodic (gave me an ancient Egypt vibes), along the easy-going drums that are actually enjoyable and the strong bass, finally closing the track with a sonic guitar solo.

Rest of the track are pretty forgettable. In bits, while The Warmth Within the Dark is very catchy with an awesome, brutal ending and the first single, Your Last Breaths, having melodic riffs and great guitar solo, they're just not as memorable as the rest of the tracks. This includes the last track, of course, and the abomination that was the re-recorded version of Epitaph of the Credulous - my second-favorite Suffocation song.

In all honesty, I thought I'd dislike this album more than I disliked Blood Oath or Despise the Sun. Turns out instead, this is the true successor to Souls to Deny, and the band recapturing their true sound and momentum after 13 years of three consecutive failed records (in my mind at least). ...Of the Dark Light should be considered as Frank's farewell and departure as a goodbye gift, as it surprisingly delivered and sounds fresh and original for the material it contains. Trying to go back and forth on the ratings, I decided to settle on 80%. Sure, it deserves even better (and if I wasn't that self-biased I'd rate this at least 90%). So thanks for everything you have given for the fans, Frank, for almost 30 years of your life, and everyone should check the opening track and the tracks from 4 to 7! You're in for a treat.