Suffocation Suffocation

After the shameful disappointment of Souls to Deny, it seemed that the celebrated reunion of the greatest American death metal band of all-time had been stifled from its inception. Jesus Christ, was everyone ever wrong. As if the prior release was their idea of a joke, Suffocation proceed to tear any and all naysayers a new asshole over the course of 12 relentlessly brutal tracks, including a choice rerecording from the oft-maligned Breeding The Spawn album. Releasing a self-titled album four full-lengths into your career is often either a mark of pretension or self-assured brilliance, and Suffocation, being the greatest American death metal band of all-time, are not capable of pretension. Suffocation matches 1995’s seminal Pierced from Within in almost every respect, even managing to one-up the notorious pit slams of "Thrones Of Blood” with the bloodcurdling climax of "Bind Torture Kill.” Upon first listen, the production seems strangely disproportionate, but it grows to be quite endearing, and allows the album to stand firmly apart from the legions of faceless imitators not just in songwriting, but in recording and performance as well. Frank Mullen’s guttural bellows and eerie enunciation are as strong as ever, and have been mercifully stripped of the processed tone of the prior release. The album reaches its second zenith with "Entrails of You,” which manages to be simultaneously one of the most thrilling and repetitive tracks the group have penned. This is top-notch material, and richly deserving of a place on any death metal fan’s year end list. (Relapse)