Suffocation - _Souls to Deny_
(Relapse Records, 2004)
by: Jackie Smit (9 out of 10)
Whether it is down to simple coincidence or not, it nonetheless remains interesting to note that the last time death and thrash metal enjoyed the prominence that it does now, the world was engulfed by similar ominous threats of nuclear devastation and war. One might even argue that world events spanning the last four years have on a subconscious level been the motivation for many of the genre's erstwhile prophets of doom to fire up their instruments in retort once again.

Whatever the reasons, there are very few acts who have proven themselves capable of capturing the zeitgeist with the same sort of bone-jarring clarity as Suffocation; and on their comeback effort, they certainly don't disappoint. Of course, evolving from a pedigree that boasts such seminal efforts as _ Effigy of the Forgotten _ and _ Pierced From Within _ was only ever going to send expectations crashing through the roof, but despite being out of the game for a good six years, the New Yorkers don't appear to have lost a single step in their brutal danse macabre.

Indeed, any doubts as to whether Suffocation still possess the fire needed to create music that can stand up to what they've offered in the past are quickly laid to rest as the album fades into the opening rapid-fire attack of "Deceit". Where dark melodies played a limited role in much of Suffocation's latter-day output, _ Souls to Deny _ sees it introduced to a far greater extent -- evoking an almost black metal-like atmosphere on some songs. But rather than dampen the impact of their ├╝ber-heavy assault, it adds a sense of even greater dynamics to the blueprint left behind on _ Despise the Sun _. The band's primary focus is still squarely on skull-crushing brutality however, and with the help of Joe Cincotta in the engineer's booth, _ Souls to Deny _ is about as aggressive and crushing a record as anything one could have reasonably expected Suffocation to deliver this point. In fact, judging by the dizzying technicality and superior songwriting on tracks like "To Weep Once More" and "Surgery of Impalement", I'd be willing to bet that their second coming could well prove to be their most devastating.


(article published 7/5/2004)

1/29/2006 J Smit Suffocation: To Crush Once More
7/5/2009 J Smit 9 Suffocation - Blood Oath
8/31/2006 J Montague 9.5 Suffocation - Suffocation
7/8/1998 P Schwarz 9 Suffocation - Despise the Sun
8/12/1995 G Filicetti 7 Suffocation - Pierced From Within
6/9/1996 A Gaudrault Suffocation / Fleshgrind / Obscene Crisis / Rotting Gasping For Air
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