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This is quite good... - 86%

Snxke, May 20th, 2004

When I got the promotional copy of this in the mail the first thing I noticed was the stunning nature of the artwork. The album itself is constructed extremely well in terms of layout and it seemed for once, as if a comeback record was being given the time and effort it deserved - at least from the standpoint of the band and label co-ordinating the record and trying to make it fully stocked, and relevant to the era it was being released in. It's obvious that this is not just a group of lost (*cough*any 80's thrash reunion*cough*) musicians who decided to "throw down" just because they couldn't figure out anything better to do. This record, to my pleasent suprise, is a masterwork from the death metal legends.

Thankfully, the music was just as stunning as the artwork. The Voivod-ian jazz runs, triple-speed drum hits and thick-and-brutal guitar work is all in place...but this time with a stronger production than previously heard. It's obvious that this is a band that isn't willing to slow down, dry up or sell out. The lyrics are typically constructed, the riffwork complex, the production well-spaced (and lacking the crap Scott Burns ideology) and the drumming diverse and battering...Suffocation are back humans!

My only complaint with the record is a slightly odd vocal mix that finds the vocals being a tad over-compressed and seperated from the rest of the mix. This though, is a minor issue compared to the beastly performance given by the vocalist. If the mix on these vocals had been slightly more explosive this might have been marked about all the technical death metal albums released in the past few years. (The award going suprisingly, to Cannibal Corpse this year for their stunning comeback.) Take nothing away from the band though, Suffocation are here to break faces and take names.

It's been a long time, has it not?

This was a nessecary record for both Suffocation and death metal genre in a broad sense. It challenges a past legacy without even attempting to rewrite it. The vibe, the musicianship and the intelligent construction that existed in the early years is alive and well on this release.