Suffering Hour’s full length debut, 2017’s In Passing Ascension, was a dark but often entrancingly melodic collection of blackened death metal that bared no small resemblance to The Chasm. That is, The Chasm if they dropped some of the cosmic stuff and instead filtered their sound through a bit of acrid black metal and cavernous bleakness. It was a pretty great record on its own, but it also hinted that the band might have greater ambitions down the road.
The meat of the song is largely similar to that heard on the full length. Suffering Hour is still playing a type of punchy, progressive (but not pretentious), and melodic (but not pretty) blackened death. But within the longer song context things are understandably spread out and allowed to breathe a little. The opening few minutes develop slowly, first with single notes that ring out like distant bells and then with airy tremolo passages not unlike what you’d hear in the “post” corner of the black metal world.
But once things really get wild, that whole beginning seems as much like a deke as it is a dynamic framework. Soon the band is back to getting busy, with fluttery, twitchy riffs and some crazy dissonant “hooks” that feel like the song trying to scratch off of its own skin. Many of the riffs are more technical reflections of the earlier slow material and some really up the thrash factor, with the whole thing seeming to build and twist upon itself as if it’s an organism experiencing constant mutation. The song returns to the more expansive passages at key moments, but most importantly near the end. Here it goes back to the peaceful motifs to lull the listener into thinking there is going to be a happy ending before shifting to a much darker, trudging finale.
It’s a smart move in a smart song. But beyond the composition, the overall addictiveness of the riffing and apparent ease with which the band goes about it all show a group that is already at the top of its game. Dwell stands on its own as Suffering Hour’s best work yet but also as a great companion piece to In Passing Ascension. Really just wickedly cool stuff.