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Absolute catastrophic, mind-numbing brutality - 98%

psychosisholocausto, September 3rd, 2013

Suffocation are a band that provoke almost unanimous positive reactions upon the mere mention of their name to any fan of extreme metal. Their first three albums are consistently handed out great reviews and high scores, with their debut having almost single-handedly defined brutal death metal whilst their second album introduced a melodic flair that many doubted the band could pull off. Some people consider them to have reached their pinnacle on their debut, whilst others claim it to be Pierced From Within, the third studio outing for this legendary New York-based death metal act. This was an album that maintained the brutal edge of their earliest works but contained much more visceral guitar tones and arguably better song craft than ever before. Brace yourselves, this album will be a ride through the darkest chasms of life.

On each of the brutal and blasphemous routs that the band put out on their third album, many things will happen. The first and foremost is that you will be hit like a sledgehammer by a mindless onslaught of some of the heaviest riffs out there. These riffs are many in number and incredible in quality, as is evidenced by the thrash-influenced sections of the second track. The second thing that will happen is that you may snap your neck headbanging to the ridiculously quick drumming and mind-boggling slower "slams". The title track and Depths Of Depravity would be the finest example of this, with the winding song structure of the former showcasing numerous speeds of drumming to great effect. The final thing that will happen is a feeling of nostalgia for their previous album with a great re-recording of the title track to Breeding the Spawn which massively improves both the vocals and the production.

Each of these juggernaut compositions will crush your skull with pure heaviness, mainly achieved through the unparalleled riff craft and aggressive focus on the guitars and drums in the production job. Torn Into Enthrallment showcases some quick, technical riffing after a calm section that opens it up in phenomenal style. Consider this clean bit as merely a breather however as it is the only one you will be gifted. Every instrument has far crisper tones than what was seen on the past two releases, and the quality of the riffs seeps through like blood from a stab wound here. Meanwhile, the animalistic vocals from Frank Mullen are at their best here, being far more decipherable than ever before and retaining that raw, low edge that they had on the past works.

As you spiral into the insanity that is Pierced From Within you will notice that they have exponentially grown as musicians in the few short years between this and their debut release, and for that reason their third studio album trumps even the mighty Effigy Of The Forgotten as the jewel in their discography.