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They've returned. - 70%

Cheeses_Priced, December 27th, 2004

Count me among those who where not looking forward to the Suffocation reunion. As a rule, I don’t think band reunions are such a sharp idea – once a band’s creative inertia is spent, it’s a safe bet that it’s not coming back. Band reunions that fail to include a primary songwriting in the band seem like an especially bad idea.

Still, I ended up buying this (actually, I listed it as an alternate in an order from Unique Leader – nice service, but getting two alternates out of four discs ordered seems awfully peculiar). I must admit it impressed me on first listen. The band’s sound didn’t change much during their hiatus; pretty much everything that made old Suffocation enjoyable is present here, more or less, and it’s still done better than most of their imitators have managed. Other bands have mostly been offering one-dimensional extrapolations of Suffocation’s sound; while there are others that are more “technical” or “brutal” or what have you, very few can handle songwriting or compositions nearly as well. For death metal circa 2004, this is well above-average.

That said, this thing’s been spending an awful lot of time on the CD rack since I got it. Suffocation’s something of a staple in my listening habits, but the old albums have been beating this one hands down for stereo time. So what’s missing?

Well, obviously Doug Cerrito is missing. It does seem a little presumptuous to assume “Souls” would have been more satisfying if he were still in the band, though. Maybe we should just commend him for having the wisdom to move on.

Musically, what’s missing is a lot of the imagination and creativity the band had before. Compared to past efforts, “Souls to Deny” is more straightforward, more predictable, seemingly more repetitive, and otherwise more simple and safe in general. One might also note the presence of a lot of riffs that sound as if they were recycled almost verbatim out of Suffocation’s back catalog.

In short, don’t buy this unless you already own the rest of their albums.