Whilst everyone is busy congratulating Cannibal Corpse on their 25th anniversary, they have forgotten that equally influential Suffocation have also reached the milestone; however luckily the band have been celebrating with a stellar release of an album. ‘Pinnacle of Bedlam’, the seventh full length from this brutal bunch, may not be a game changer in the death metal scene but is a perfect example of why Suffocation have lasted so long and are still labelled as the big four of American death metal and is bound to be a comparison album for the rest of 2013’s releases.
Many will complain that without former drummer Mike Smith the band wouldn’t cope due to a loss of his technical madness behind the kit, but Dave Culross is more than capable, especially as he was with the band during the ‘Despite The Sun’ EP. From the very beginning the album shoots out of its cannon, with a song so furious it sounds as though you’ve missed an intro track and it’s obvious this could well be their most technical album yet. Frank Mullen sticks to what he knows on the vocal front, helping keep the classic sound of the band via deep growls whilst there are more definitive guitar parts from Terrance Hobbs proving the musicality that is often hidden behind their brutality. The likes of first albums ‘Effigy of the Forgotten’ and ‘Breeding the Spawn were purposely murky and down-tuned but after a bit of a polish new tracks ‘Purgatorial Punishment’ and the album title track glisten with high production and nastiness is not lost from its original form.
The two predecessors of ‘Pinnacle of Bedlam’ were accepted by most, however this album continues to push Suffocation through the competition of newer bands, with a consistent strength that has been twanged slightly to keep up with the now of death metal demands.
Review by Lily Randall
‘Pinnacle of Bedlam’ is out Feb 15th on Nuclear Blast
You’ll like this if… you fancy a wash down after a dip in the death metal swamp but don’t want to lose your evil, scruffy charm.