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A Strong Reformation - 85%

Petrus_Steele, April 19th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2004, CD, Relapse Records

Souls to Deny marks the return and reform of the legendary death metal artist, Suffocation. Six years after the disaster that was Despise the Sun, which marked the split of the band due to whatever personal reasons and mismanagement, the band not only almost returned to their original form, delivering yet another quality record, but the lineup is almost as the one that dates all the way back to 1990, the Reincremated days. While Josh Barohn, the original bassist was talked about returning to reform the band at its original form, both parties (the band and him) couldn't come to terms, unfortunately. And so, by not being able to reunite with the original bassist anymore and leaving the band empty-handed without a bassist, both Mike & Terrance had to jump in and record the bass, while additionally Guy Marchais, the guitarist from another two brutalities, Pyrexia and Internal Bleeding joined the band. At the end of the day, they recruited one Derek Boyer, the California bassist from Decrepit Birth and Deprecated, after the album's release.

As the guys reformed and put themselves on a proper path again, Souls to Deny reintroduced the good old brutality we all know and love, with the good old adhesive technicality and addition of catchy melodies and prominent pitch harmonics, along with Mike's rapid blast beats and Frank's death growls of greatness. Nothing to comment about the bass since I believe by not being able to recruit any other bassists, Mike & Terrance played the bass in the simplest way possible without anything fancy for the purpose of just recording a new album and putting themselves back in business.

I like how the album begins with the ending of the last track, Tomes of Acrimony and then initially starts with Deceit, the opening track. It's like the album is on an endless, repeating cycle. For the opening track itself, it starts off with strong and consistent blast beats and prompt cymbals, along the groovy guitar riffs. The chorus is pretty melodic; both instrumentally and vocally, and the bridge unleashes Frank's growls of devastation. The title track begins with people's souls being denied, screaming in agony as Frank commemorates his death growls in different variations; growling the title track, along with horrific background music. As the actual song starts, it's repetitively the same lyrics and music except for the bridge that is different. Other than that, it's a pretty long and heavy track. The music video and/or the only single, Surgery of Impalement presents more technicality, amazing guitar solo, and even stronger blast beats. The bridge shoots out immense pitch harmonics as the music slows down a bit. Demise of the Clone is just all-around an astounding track! It's self-explanatory. And finally, my favorite track, Tomes of Acrimony - that's the fucking shit right there! Just listen to it...

Much like Breeding the Spawn, I'm not sure if the guys ever realized the true art and material they wrote in Souls to Deny; taking things to another philosophical level. Once again growling about oneself and in perspective but really more about corruption, or perhaps this album should be deemed as their most personal record lyrically, as much as I would say this is where the band really matured when it comes to the production - more than Pierced from Within. I also might be in the strong minority, if I'm not the only one - but I think this album offers more than Pierced from Within. I'm not implying Pierced from Within is bad, because while it's good and unbeatable and Souls to Deny doesn't even come close in comparison, I think Souls to Deny simply offered more in the brutality and technical department, as well as different musical substance and fresh ideas.

The tracks I found to be weak: To Weep Once More sounds too simple and promotes an underwhelming listen, other than the powerful pitch harmonics. While Subconsciously Enslaved is probably the most melodic track on the record, it's not as heavy as the other tracks. It's groovier in some aspects, too, and has the strongest bass, yet failed to deliver excitement and brutality other tracks on the album have. Immortally Condemned, the longest track; long and forgettable.

When I first tried the album I honestly didn't like it, by only liking Demise of the Clone at first, but I never denied the album’s full potential, and I guess now, writing this review, this album grew on me a lot. I don’t know how many people liked Suffocation’s latter albums in comparison to Souls to Deny, but I found this album to be the band’s best of the new millennia. After this masterpiece, everything is a fluctuation of downgrades.

Best tracks are Deceit, the title track, Surgery of Impalement, Demise of the Clone, and the mightiness that is Tomes of Acrimony. Take my word for it, this album offers more in-depth, instrumentally and lyrically, in just only eight tracks - more than most of the next four records.