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One Of The Best! - 99%

Deeeth, April 21st, 2012

Pierced from Within remains to this day to be a masterpiece of the death metal genre. While the years have not been kind to many of the classics, largely due to an increase in the quality of production abilties, this album remains a masterpiece, and will always be a masterpiece. Why, do you ask?

The production of this album is completely ahead of its time, especially on the drums and bass. Unlike in many death metal albums, you can actually clearly hear the bass! Given death metal in general has its lows completely intensified for increased brutality, being able to clearly hear the bass adds so much to this album. And when you first listen to the track "Depths of Depravity" and its wicked bass solo, you will further realize how much albums with an inaudiable bass suffer. The drum tracking is similarily excellent. What makes the drums sound so unique is that they lack that artificial feel present on so many modern albums. Although you may be a fan of overproduced drums, hearing them in their organic brutality is, for me, much more enjoyable. The drumming is both organic and technical, which may surprise you given Mike Smith does not appear on this album and is typically considered one of the most important factors in Suffocation's success.

The guitar tracking is a major improvement from their previously releases, especially given the poor guitar tracking is basically the only problem with the album Effigy of the Forgotten. In terms of vocals, while still solid, they are a step back from Effigy. Frank stated that he began opening his mouth more while growling on this album to make the lyrics more coherent. As someone who does not care at all for the lyrics and graphic imagry present on albums of this style, I would much have preferred Frank kept his mouth shut and continued with the relentless and guttural style vocals present on Effigy. Regardless, the vocals do not in any way hold the album back, and in many ways, Frank is one of the best in the business at materializing the powerful and hypermasculine vocalist we fans of death metal enjoy.

The first 4 tracks of the album are among the strongest, and although though the tracks that follow are less excellent, they will still get your head moving.

Now, lets talk about what makes this album stand out. The riffs. To describe this album in a sentence would be: an amazingly heavy riff is played by itself, the listener thinks to themself "wow that riff is brutal", the drums and bass come in to complement the riff, Frank says evil things over the riff, than everything goes quiet and another brutal riff is introducted. While many death metal albums utilize repetition to some extent, this album is simply covered in brilliant riffs. Just when you think a song has hit its greatest moment, you are likely wrong, given the next riff will rip the skull off your already skinless face.

One could argue that this album suffers from one problem: it seems to be a transitional album from when Suffocation moved from being simply brutal like on Effigy to being a much more technical death metal band. While some see this as a weakness, I see this as one of the albums greatest strengths. The album maintains the brutality in the breakdowns and grunts, while at the same time has enough technicality to keep those fans of Necrophagist fully engaged.

In conclusion, there are few death metal albums around that keep you engaged as much as this one. The production is organic and ahead of its time, and upon each listen, you hear another memorable riff that you simply won't be able to get out of your head.