Originally written by Dan Staige.
I am confused. How could any death metal band be as advanced, skilled, or as talented as Suffocation displays here, on an absolutely CRUSHING effort from 1995? Any fan of this band will tell you that they are freaks. That is obviously a given. But the way these 5 dudes put this gift to work for them is simply unbelievable….. Take Terrance Hobbs and Doug Cerrito, for example. These two maniacal axe-masters are at the absolute top of their trade. How do they come up with these riffs? Speaking as an “unaccomplished” guitarist myself, I can only wet dream of achieving their levels of tight technicality. And the breakdowns!!!!!!!! These are not your average “heavy parts”. These guys go from a killer interlude and shove your head into the sludge without warning. These are skillfully placed riffs. The distortion is very unique. That may be hard to imagine w/ all of the “brutal death” bands out today, but trust me. Everything about every song falls into place as if Satan had done it himself. Chris Richards on bass guitar……………..now, here we go. This guy is a real contributor. You know there are so many “bassists” nowadays that simply just “play bass”. They follow the basic structure of the song, never really having the ability and/or guts to stray from the piece and strut their shit. You constantly notice Chris’ playing not only because the production is on the bassey side, as it was quite often back in 1995, but because he has the confidence to make his sound heard. Whether by establishing the mood on an intro, or helping to emphasize the creativity of a guitar solo, this guy is a pro at what he does. Drumming is just BOOMING! I could be wrong, but is this not the first band in metal to incorporate the “thunder drum” into their music? Doug Bohn is tight and crisp. Just when you think you’ve got the line down and can follow it, he changes direction. It’s like trying to chase a fucking squirrel. And when these trademark Suffocation breakdowns get heavy…………..they get HEAVY! That thunder drum will melt off any skin that is still left on your body. You’ve got blast beats here that were way ahead of their time, and the cymbal and hi-hat work is also very impressive, especially if you choose to listen to this assault through your headphones. And what can I say about Frank Mullen? He stitches this album together and holds it there. The sick lyrics match the music to a tee. I feel like I am in hell when I hear this. Obviously, that means they have accomplished their mission. This offering is complete and total death metal, all the way. I can’t think of many that have done it better. And back in 1995? Forget it. Suffocation set the standard. Scotty Burns somehow harnessed this beast and trained it to do what he said, when he said. This is stellar production, whether you’re talking about death metal today or the Tampa madness of yesteryear. I can’t foresee my already brutalized ears ever rejecting this monster of an album. The technicality Suffocation displays here reminds me of current-day Cryptopsy. The amount of practice and energy exerted to maintain even one of these hollow-tipped bullets must be in absolutely ridiculous proportions. I can’t help but wonder if the mind-manglers of Suffocation know how many people they sandblasted to hell with their music. Satan only knows what kind of giants these fellas would be today if they continued the controlled chaos that they performed so well throughout their awesome existence.