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Probably the Best Death Metal EP - 70%

Petrus_Steele, April 14th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2005, CD, Relapse Records (Reissue)

I love that this reissue combines the first Suffocation release from 1990, the Reincremated demo. Now you have eight traditional death metal tracks instead of five, with different mixing and sound and a better bang for buck for headbanging. Honesty, this is a great purchase for anyone who's interested. This is also in development of what would later become the pioneering of the technical/brutal subgenres of death metal: Effigy of the Forgotten, the debut album.

I gotta start off with Catatonia because it's a blast of a song, both live and studio (re-recorded version on Despise the Sun - don't even go there because everything you want is right here on this EP). It's a bit raw, more thrash metal-influenced (drums wise), the death growls that'll later distinguish Frank Mullen's (the vocalist) very own was still in development here, and the music is absolutely fantastic - and if I were to live in 1991 I would've been blown away, too. Most of the EP speaks for itself since all the tracks are pretty much in development, yet to this day still maintained quality and importance. Mike Smith, the drummer surely blasts a lot of beats, yet was probably more concentrated towards drums of thrash metal and hardcore punk. As Frank was still developing his death growls, or maybe the production was just making it sound like the death growls are intentionally raw and incomprehensible, I love the reverb effect on his vocals when he growls longer, in Reincremation and Infecting the Crypts; really justifies the pounding of the music and overall experience. The bass gets loved, so that's good to hear (literally hear) and the guys behind the guitars are giving us an observation of their technical skill when they were just in their very early 20s.

My personal take, unfortunately, is that I didn't like most of the EP. All the re-recorded tracks that made it to Effigy of the Forgotten are much better because they sound more like what the band is advertised; as technical/brutal death metal than traditional death metal or thrash metal, though the original version of Reincremation is extremely good for traditional death metal and the best track from the Reincremated demo (can't tell if that's the title track?). I love Frank's death growls and the quality of the entire track. Synthetically Revived's re-recorded version that ended up on Pierced from Within also sounds better and kinda belongs into said album more than the original version, as if it's an entirely new track. Mass Obliteration sounds empty with the decreased volume of the pitched harmonics of the guitars and George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher's missing vocals - and Frank's growls kinda suck, compared to the re-recorded version.

Now, I can't be biased after saying I hardly liked the EP and give it a bad rating, because it is a phenomenal EP. So 70% would be my rating, because of the design, quality, music, and the development. It IS a masterpiece, in every sense of the word. Standout tracks would obviously be Catatonia and Reincremation.

Eats and spits corpses. - 85%

Diamhea, February 7th, 2014

Human Waste sounds nasty, revolting, and while it lacks some of whats to come it has an archaic appeal unique to itself. The all-over-the-place compositional style Suffocation would later adopt to great effect is largely absent here. The band instead leans toward more traditional early death metal aesthetics to deliver their visceral onslaught.

As such, this has the tendency to come off akin to a slightly more animated Altars of Madness with deeper, more subsonic roars manning the helm. Some songs, like "Synthetically Revived" hang onto some of the chugging open notes just long enough to be considered thrash-influenced. Others like "Catatonia" feature neck-jerking grooves alongside the guitars' dissonant bursts of distortion. The raw, underproduced nature of the guitars is befitting of the nefarious subject matter. The tone is crisp and biting, featuring an overuse of mid-range that gives the riffs a blubbery, asphyxiating quality that remained a Suffocation hallmark at least until Pierced from Within was released four years later. Barohn's artificial sounding, buzzing bass timbre is brash and upfront. Due to either production oversights or a stylistic decision on the band's part, the bass is especially virulent and oppressive during "Jesus Wept", showing where this style could have eventually ended up had it been pursued in earnest.

Smith's percussive onslaught is relatively dialed back compared to his modern output, relying more on fast thrash patterns and churning double-bass to drive the proceedings forward. He still blasts, but his performance lacks much of the instrumental proficiency present on his later acrobatic feats. There are some moments when Human Waste rises to undisputed greatness, like the ascending-descending riffs present during the breakdown of "Infecting the Crypts" and the entirety of "Synthetically Revived". Not to shortchange Hobbs, but I almost wonder if Cerrito is the true mastermind behind the sporadically radiated surges of atonal distortion that make Human Waste such a treat to listen to. The band has always appeared to be desperately staving off the maggots of compositional stagnation ever since his departure for Hate Eternal in 1998.

I suppose the one area in which Human Waste is lacking is in Mullen's sepulchral delivery. I fully understand that the vocals are an afterthought in music like this, but his performance sounds like he is trying to navigate a massive amount of phlegm in order to get his roars out properly. Again, it may be a production issue, but it makes me chuckle all the same. The closer "Human Waste" stands out for two reasons: it features a brief instrumental intro (which I believe is from Hellraiser although I haven't checked) and the fact that it appears to be an older demo track. While it naturally separates itself from the rest of the EP on a superficial level for these reasons, the material within is on par with the rest of Human Waste.

Although some of Suffocation's early releases (mainly Effigy of the Forgotten) would contain trace elements of this style, there is still a unique appeal to the material within Human Waste. Like a putrefying corpse, it only gets better with age.

Drowned in a sea of flaming brutality. - 92%

hells_unicorn, April 26th, 2011

As a genre, death metal is mostly appealing because of the combined concentration of technical prowess and unconventional songwriting tendencies. It’s easy to see how a number of people who are taken by the vile, atonal nightmare that is this form of extreme music might also have an affinity for obscure progressive metal or the inevitable hybrid of the two. For its time, it could be said that Suffocation were dabbling in a progressive area, though obviously not in the same way that Dream Theater was. Most might point to Cannibal Corpse or Deicide as the most aggressive beast on the block at this time, but when taking the astonishingly technical character of Suffocation meshed with its unashamed incorporation of grind/hardcore influences from the New York scene, they edge out all the competition despite such nasty offerings as “Legion” or “Eaten Back To Life”.

“Human Waste” literally provides a musical picture in perfect harmony with the nasty, “Hell Awaits” on steroids album cover that accompanies it. The guitars are extremely muddy and deep, yet still percussive enough to provide the punch inherent in a number of the thrashing, Slayer/Sodom inspired work going on here. “Jesus Wept” particularly cuts like a decrepit cousin of something heard on “Persecution Mania”, differing mostly in the sheer intensity on display, particularly in Frank Mullen’s guttural ear drum assault. While perhaps not quite as inhuman and otherworldly as what Lord Worm would bring to the table a couple years later, this takes the ugliest aspects of both Chris Barnes and Glen Benton, eviscerates and reconstructs the extreme depth and grit of each, and sounds almost like a bellowing dragon after a severe case of acid reflux. The only area where things come up a bit short is the low-fidelity, tinny, poppy drum production, which tends to be more of a staple of grindcore bands of late.

Mercifully short and forbidding from its smoking nose to the tip of its scaled tail, this EP defines everything that was right with death metal in the early 90s. It offers a bleaker, more horrifying picture than that painted by Chuck Schuldiner in the 80s, yet is still musically close enough to the vintage sound of that era to be identifiable with it. Though by the standards of 1990 this was well removed from what was conventional thrash, today this listens more like an old school death/thrash album with a modified production than anything else. Even on slower and more groove informed numbers like “Synthetically Revived”, the formulaic and bleak melodic content found in the riff set and the occasional bursts of speed are blatantly in the post-”Reign In Blood” mindset that is more readily associated with thrash oriented death metal rather than what is considered brutal and technical by today’s standards.

The inevitable changes in the definitions of terms used to describe metal music might confuse most who are looking to this band as an early example of what they’ve come to love in bands like Cryptopsy, Decrepit Birth or Necrophagist. This is much closer to what is now considered the archaic sound that is still pushed by Cannibal Corpse to this day, although its much more potent and will probably hold some appeal for current fans of brutal death who have some appreciation for the roots of death metal. But categories aside, this is an intense listen, especially considering that its over 20 years old. Everything about it, including the flaws in production, are endearing and only further add to an already hearty array of blood and guts. Forget about riding the haunted mansion ride at your nearby amusement park, forget about “House Of A Thousand Corpses”, just listen to this and see if you can avoid getting freaked out.

Legendary Beginnings - 96%

Five_Nails, August 4th, 2009

One of the most defining moments in death metal history took place the month I was born. In September of 1990 New York death metal pioneers, Suffocation, released their first EP, “Human Waste” which opened the flood gates for two new sub-genres to arise out of the sub-genre of death metal: brutal death metal and technical death metal. Suffocation also was one of the bands to popularize the practice of death metal blast beats, a heavy drumming technique that Mike Smith has perfected over the years.

Playing some roughly produced but still very tight sounding tracks that will end up appearing on their groundbreaking albums “Effigy of the Forgotten” and “Pierced from Within”, Suffocation’s “Human Waste” is a very bare bones LP that contains some of their earliest demos before the recording of a full-length. Being the first album released on Relapse Records, this drum heavy recording shows that even early on, Suffocation was a brutal labyrinth of musical talent. The intense but muddied blast beats in “Infecting the Crypts”, the surgically precise lyrics and heavy unrelenting vocals of Frank Mullen of “Synthetically Revived”, and the slower but still just as unforgiving guitar tone in “Catatonia” shows how this juggernaut saw each track on this LP and then revised them in the years to come when they returned in Suffocation’s later albums.

All the songs are raw versions of everything that can be heard on Suffocation’s later albums, but to hear this old demos (especially for me since they were recorded the month I was born) is an interesting look into how this band changed and became what they are. The track, “Human Waste” is the only one that I haven’t heard before, and it is a destructive force. The only difference in this song from everything else on the album production-wise is that Mullen’s vocals have more echo sound put into them, are less throaty, and are more understandable. The riffing and drumming combine to create a more thrash/death metal sound than a brutal death metal sound, but for a thrash/death crossover, “Human Waste” is still a very heavy and catchy track to listen to. The soloing at 2:37 is pure “Reign in Blood” era Slayer sounding as the high notes scream, wail, and sound like the buzzing of mosquitoes.

The version I picked up also has two bonus tracks featuring very raw demos of “Involuntary Slaughter” and “Reincremation”. These are two songs that seem to have changed the least from their demo version to the album versions a couple of years later. The only real differences are in vocal style. Like with the early version of “Synthetically Revived”, the lyrics and vocal sound changed a lot between the recording of this LP and the albums “Effigy” and “Pierced” as Mullen growls less and makes enunciates more compared to the later iterations. These songs again are very superb additions to the already amazing early track listing of an album that has turned out to be a very cool early Suffocation experience.

Even though the mix is very muddy and the production is damn near terrible, the unique brutal sound of Suffocation is still impressed into this album. From the cover art to the album itself, this early experience is the exact same straightforward no bullshit death metal that Suffocation has been playing for two decades and does very well to foreshadow the beginning of the legendary legacy of one of death metal’s greatest bands.

Ugh... - 30%

doomknocker, August 3rd, 2009

Boy is THIS a mess of an album...

I stumbled across this album by pure accident while record shopping one day. Seeing it in my hands made me remember plentiful positive reviews about these guys. Thankfully it was on sale, so I figured if I didn't like it it wasn't that be a loss. What did I have to lose?

Well, I was right...I didn't like it.

I don't know what it is about brutal death metal but it never clicked with me, no matter how many bands I've checked out. I don't know if it's the randomocity, the lack of cohesiveness, or the generally sloppy playing, but I never got into this sorta thing. I understand how big the genre is within the metal community, as well as its continual embrace for other fans, but I just don't care for it. And SUFFOCATION didn't helping matters. Not as technically innovative as MORBID ANGEL or as rip-roarin'ly miasmic as DEICIDE, this band, and this album in particular, sits within middle-of-the-road-style mediocrity that confuses and confounds rather than excites. The guitars and bass sorta fly all over the place with a sense of devil-may-care loose playing that's nigh impossible to decipher, the drumwork steamrolls tempos and riffs alike into inorganically sludgey pools (though some of the faster moments and fills are kinda tasty), and the vocals...well, death metal vocals are an art-form and acquired taste in and of itself, so by lack of surprise I didn't care for the ascerbic burps and vomitory excess that flitters by as an afterthough. And altogether the group plugs along in a kind of incohesity that hearkens wonder if it was written and recorded as they went along (like the prime examples in "Infecting the Crypts", "Jesus Wept" and the title track). If any good points are present it's that usually old-school death metal has decent production and this is no exception. Things are presented with a clarity that makes you notice subtle nuances of riffery and vocal work beyond the amorphous blob of sound presented as the musical backdrop.

So all in all this is a mess best left for the death metal elite and those looking to get into the roots of the style. While not the worst thing I've ever heard, this isn't really entertaining either. Better luck next time, guys.

Brutal Death/Thrash, The Way it Should Be - 93%

MetalStrikesDown, July 14th, 2009

This is the first release on Relapse Records on CD. This is the first release from the legendary Suffocation on a label. The Human Waste [EP] continues on with what the original demo was doing, playing an early form of Brutal Death/Thrash Metal. All of the songs have since been re-recorded on their other albums, with the exception of the The Human Waste song. So it is easy to see the original forms of the songs on this release.

If you have ever seen Suffocation live you know that if they play any of these songs that it will be in the re-recorded form as opposed to the raw sounding The Human Waste [EP] recordings. But I don’t think that means the band doesn’t like the originals. After all it is what made them. I have both the original and the remastered versions of this release; the only real difference is that it is louder. The remastered version includes the whole original demo as the last three tracks. If you read my review on that, you will know basically what this EP sounds like. The intensity of the songs just rip your face off. The drumming is top notch, blast beats to the seemingly perfect fills. The guitars shred out brutal thrash riffs and the bass goes right along. The vocals are different than what is to follow in Suffocation’s career; they are harsh as opposed to the deep grunts/growls later on.

Suffocation is one of the most renowned bands in Death Metal history. Easily, I could say, my favorite band of all time. It was refreshing when I heard this EP for the first time and realized where the band had actually come from because my introduction to them was Effigy of the Forgotten. It is hard for me to imagine what the scene was actually like around the time of this EP’s release. Considering since I was only 2 years old I would have no clue. But if anyone else was making music similar to this I could only imagine the complete and total destruction of everything in its path.

Originally written for

The birth of Suffocation... The death of serenity. - 90%

Conceived_in_Chaos, May 8th, 2009

I imagine when this e.p. came out, it blew everything else of the water in terms of both speed and intensity. I mean shit this was basically the album that gave a big fuck you to traditional song structures. You don’t have the basic opening riff-chorus-riff-solo-riff-chorus-ending riff structure here. You have basically riff #1, riff #2, riff#3,….riff #35 with a solo wherever the hell they want to throw it in. This is all played at high velocity. Anything that was considered hyper speed at the time had just got downgraded when this little beast reared it’s abominant head. Onto the album:

The first you'll notice is (like I mentioned earlier), the speed of the playing - Infecting the Crypts basically sounds like a bunch of thrash riffs, played while on a speed binge. Secondly, the drumming! I really wish a lot of other bands followed Suffocation's lead more often in this respect. Mike Smith uses tastefully placed blast beats and every hit has some impact - there are times where even the bass drum can be likened to the sound of the footsteps of some giant beast bearing down on you. The vocals are pretty monstrous as well. I guess given the recording quality, Frank Mullen's vocals sound fucking deep! I could only really liken him to Sylvain Houde (formerly of Kataklysm), in this album in particular. It could also be his method, I'm not entirely sure. As for the bass - it's hardly audible (except when Suffocation goes into sludge mode). When it's present however it does help add to the rhythm and does have a dominance of it's own.

As far is this album goes, it's classic all around. Like pretty much of ever other album from Suffocation it offers tracks all unique of each other, all with the intent to sledgehammer you and your loved ones (possibly your rare collectibles, as well) to oblivion. This offering has tracks that are less complex than Suffo's later works, which actually kind of make the tracks easier to get into at times. Instead of trying to put riffs to the nth power, they decided that only 18 riffs per song were appropriate here. All the songs are great so to judge on the basis of each track would be counter-intuitive. I would like to point a highlight - the catchiest song out of the whole lot - Human Waste (at least for me). This song gets me every time, I can't help but to headbang to this shit! The fucking chugging thrash riff at the beginning is Suffocation's way of saying you will not leave this track, or album for that matter, unscathed. Definitely a must own for those who hail from the school of brutality.

And Jesus Wept... - 91%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, September 14th, 2007

Suffocation are considered the pioneers of the brutal death metal played in a technical way. Since the beginning of their career, they successfully mixed high dose of brutality with some more elaborated guitars and drums patterns. This is one of the very first platter where this is demonstrated. This EP contains some of the most brutal and raw songs ever written by the group from New York.
They are all classics and some tracks like "Infecting The Crypts" or "Catatonia" (originally written in 1988 as one of the very first group’s song) are still regarded as the highest level of brutality reached by the group in those years.

The production of this EP is still a bit raw, but perfect to show the group’s violence. Anyway you can hear every instrument very well and the band sounds incredibly powerful and compact. The songs are still influenced by the grindcore genre, like the beginning and the end of "Infecting The Crypts" song where the drummer makes some brutal blast beats and generally in every song there are a lot of up tempo parts. The slower parts are directly influenced by the most rotten side of the death metal, like early Obituary. Already from here you can hear the inhuman guitars work, supported by a fast, a bit raw, but powerful drumming.

The beginning of "Mass Obliteration" song is heavily influenced by Napalm Death in that period (Harmony Corruption) with a great guitar work that, going on in this song, increases in technique and speed. "Catatonia" is a very brutal track, that begins very slowly and after a while the violence is unleashed. This one was also re-recorded for the EP Despise The Sun. Human Waste track is the shortest one in this EP…so rotten and primordial with Frank Mullen who seems to come out from another world with his growls, so extreme in that period and still a trademark of the group nowadays.

The re-mastered copies of this great EP contain also two songs from their early demo, Reincremation (1990). The tracks are very raw but well recorded. Folks, this is a great EP and a piece of history if you want to know where and when brutal death metal was born. Highly recommended! All hail to the fathers of brutality!!

Thrash!!! - 78%

UltraBoris, September 7th, 2003

This is solid old-school death metal - the kind that doesn't stray too far from the thrash ideals that make death metal worth listening to in the first place. This one is a lot faster overall, and has more high-end in the mix than the more sludgy later stuff that Suffocation would do. The vocals are also slightly different, and altogether it goes well. It's not quite as heavy, but it's still certainly no Sonata Arctica.

It's an EP, so we have only 6 songs here - but they're all pretty damn good. The highlight has to be probably Synthetically Revived, though they are all similar. This is a good thing - you don't have them pulling anything stupid. While Suckbid Angel was fucking around with idiocy, these guys were putting out solid heavy metal. Catatonia is probably the slowest song on here, though slow is a relative term - it's just more midpaced, similar to later Suffocation, as opposed to the frantic sound they borrow from Possessed and Slayer and use for most of the EP.

The last track, Human Waste, actually sounds pretty different production-wise... I'm not sure if it's a demo track or something. It pretty much starts off as a classic thrash number before becoming more death-metal. Though again, if you take Pierced from Within as 1995, and the rest of the EP as 1991, this sounds like it's 1988 - the guitar tone doesn't have as much low-end and in general sounds more like Hell Awaits than anything else. Very interesting - qualitywise the song blends in well with the rest of the EP, though it does make me wonder.

In any case, this is pretty essential. In 1991 death metal was still pretty viable and worth hearing, and this is a good example of the best of the genre. And remember, kids... Suckbid Angel sucks. There's real death metal out there.

Metal that makes your ears bleed. - 90%

Shovel, April 30th, 2003

Right from the start, you know this CD is going to kick your ass. The riffs are non-stop, and all of them are great. The drumming is superb, the bass adds a good backbone, and the vocals sound great.

"Infecting the Crypts" opens with a bone snapping riff, which is joined by great drumming after a few seconds. The song is very catchy, with all the instruments melding together perfectly. No one instrument stands out, yet they all shine.

"Synthetically Revived" opens with a classic death metal crunch, similar to Hammer Smashed Face, and starts out a bit slower then "Infecting the Crypts". This song has a bit of an apocalyptic aura to it, especially during the guitar solo. The drumming really stands out, with Mike Smith showing off his prowess.

"Mass Obliteration" opens with a killer drum roll, followed by a riff built for moshing. The entire song is a mosh pit haven. Faster then hell riffs, insane drumming, and gruesome vocals. There is just enough change up to keep you interested, but not so much that it takes away from the song.

"Catatonia" has got to be one of the best death metal songs, ever. It is up there with "Chopped in Half" and "Hammer Smashed Face". Slow at first, it picks up around 1:30, and will force you to head bang throughout the rest of the song. The riffs are brilliant, and the drumming entrances you. The guitar solo at 3:00 is great, and adds a bit on melody to the song.

"Jesus Wept" not only has an amusing song name, it has a very catchy opening. The riffs keep a steady rhythm, and the drumming is quick and simple. The song goes through a pile of change ups, but seems to keep the same rhythm through them all. Another great guitar solo turns up at 3:00, but this one lasts a bit longer then "Catatonia"s solo, and the song end immediatly after it.

"Human Waste" opens with what sounds like a holy keyboard instrumental. Thankfully, it only lasts a few seconds, and the demonic music comes on once again. This song is a demo song, so the quality is a bit lower, but it still holds up against the rest of the CD. Nice thick riffs support drums that are a bit louder then everything else on the song. The singer sounds a bit cleaner, but no so much that you would ever doubt his vileness.

All together, this CD is a must have for any fan of hard hitting death metal. A gem from New York.

Well... wow. - 95%

capeda, February 5th, 2003

Released in 1991.... This is the first ever release from Relapse Records, I believe. Considering they're my favorite "big" metal label, I picked this EP up, not only because I had yet to hear what Suffocation was about, but simply because it was a piece of history to Relapse...

My first impression was along the lines of "Wow, this is a shitty production." Yeah, it's a bit muddy, and I though the album was recorded in a sewer because of the dirty atmosphere. But looking past the atmosphere... well, there's countless riffs, every single one of highest quality. Not too much variation in each song (other than the title track, but its just a production change (its a demo track)), just different riffs. This album is pretty much a catalog full of riffs... a generic DM band could simply take 2 or 3 of the riffs out of one of these six tracks, slow them down, throw them together, and have a GREAT song. Theres about 2 or 3 million riffs here, so I suppose this EP contains a million quality DM songs....

Eh, let's move on. The drumming is, well, quite brutal. Considering this EP was put out in 1991, I'd have to say this was definitely the most brutal display of drumming in a metal release. Definitely some grind influence here... but if you absolutely hate blast beats, don't worry. The drumming is very dynamic and blasts aren't implemented for more than 10% of each track. But geez, Suffocation sure does know how to utilize the blasts... very intense.

The vocals? Frank Mullen is one of my favorite vocalists and this EP is the primary reason. Totally inhuman screams and gargles. I can't make out more than a handful of words, but who really cares? Metal isn't about lyrics; It's about intensity and rawness and speed and killing things and all that good stuff. If you want to read and interpret the words of someone, well, go read a book. That said, there are no lyrics printed in the booklet. Just accept Mullen as a sort of percussive instrument.

My 2 favorite tracks on this album are Infecting the Crypts and Jesus Wept. No particular reason, the songs don't connect with me on some lame emotional level... the riffs are just quite ungodly. Infecting the Crypts also contains an intense little solo that just gets stuck in my head for hours...

Well, I don't know what else to say. If you like brutal death metal and you don't own this, buy it. If you don't like Suffocation, castrate yourself, as your genitals are obviously functionless, anyways. This is metal for guys who like metal. And, well, hmm. They were Flo's favorite band, I hear. You know, that guy from Cryptopsy? If you don't respect my opinion, respect his! Buy this, and then buy every other Suffocation album.