Sound — 8
As if the band's name and album cover aren't major clues enough, Suffocation are a brutal death metal band who first soared from the eternal raging pits of New York back in 1988. Boasting crunching distortion soaked guitars, racing riffs, and bellowing dark vocals all typical for the best in the genre, Suffocation's unique form of depression-fueled angst quickly appealed to metalheads across the globe. Such now highly hailed masterpieces as "Effigy Of The Forgotten" and "Despise The Sun" would soon become set into heavy rotation on the airwaves.
Now, preparing to demolish all modern pop-powered bands hitting the scene, Suffocation are marking their return from a brief 3-year studio hiatus with their new album, "Pinnacle Of Bedlam". Normally, bands will try to make a certain message when it comes to putting out a new album after a prolonged period of time. But for Suffocation, this is just another explosive record for this discography, that's just as ballistic as anything they've put out to date. We take our first look at the new album with "As Grace Descends". Immediately you can tell that little has changed when it comes to the band's dynamics throughout their 20+ year career. A rocketing pace is backed by a blistering, pick grinding guitar lick and molten vocals, it's definitely a great way to make a first impression for a band's return, and definitely is a great hint of what to look forward to throughout the rest of the disc.
Lyrics — 9
Lead vocalist Frank Mullen has somehow managed to maintain his raging voice throughout the past two decades. For some reason, I have a strong desire to further elaborate on how well Frank still sounds on the new album. Perhaps it's because how time affects all lead singers, but none more so than who are fronting screaming death metal bands. Not just anyone can go out every night, year after year giving spine chilling roars and expect their vocal chords to maintain their crisp sounding shape. However, Frank has managed to do so, so when it comes to his vocal performance on "Pinnacle Of Bedlam" I cannot give too many complaints.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, Suffocation do a rousingly solid job throughout "Pinnacle Of Bedlam". Each track is hard hitting, balls-to-the-wall heavy metal, and has yet to show any weak points. The mixing quality is noteworthily great, which helps each song perfectly transition to the next and adds up to an even more enjoyable listening experience. Any death metal fan, especially established fans of the astounded group, should definitely look picking this album up, and take great pride while listening to it at full volume.