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They're Back... - 94%

GoatSlaughter, May 4th, 2005

Souls to Deny, arguably the most highly anticipated death metal album of 2004. Suffocation have been on hiatus for quite some time, and at first I was skeptical as to whether they would be able to release a solid album after all this time. Now that I’ve listened to this CD however, I can say that I was foolish for doubting the musical genius of these incredibly influential death metal pioneers. This album is a nearly flawless piece of modern death metal.

The production is very clear and allows all the instruments to be accented well. The vocals are great. At first I thought they needed to be a little more guttural or distorted, but after repeated listens I’ve realized that Mullen’s vocal style still fits perfectly with the music. The thing that really attracts me to the vocals however is how they deliver the lyrics with such power. The guitars are where this album shines brightest though. The riffing is done at varying paces and is extremely technical. The tone produced by the guitars couldn’t be more appropriate. The solos are very enjoyable as well.

Drum-work on this release is incredible as usual, featuring fast and brutal blasts, but a hell of a lot more innovative instrumentation as well. This keeps the drumming from getting monotonous and boring as with many death metal acts, but still allows for plenty of mandatory brutal blasting moments. The bass is the only thing that doesn’t stand out on this album. This is probably due to the fact that Derek Boyer hadn’t joined the band during the recording of this album, so Hobbs and Smith had to perform the bass duties. The basslines are audible at least, and their low-end sound helps maintain the heaviness of the music.

This album as a whole was very enjoyable, and a lot better than what I had expected. It proves that Suffocation still know how to play heavier, more technical, and a lot more originally than most of these cookie cutter, gore-obsessed death bands populating the scene these days. Let’s just hope that Suffocation continue to make similar music for their next album and don’t let all this new media attention lead them astray.