There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who like fried chicken and those who like spicy, or “hot” fried chicken.
Myself, I’m a hot chicken guy. I’ve learned through observation that generally, it’s a one-way street. People who like hot fried chicken will also eat regular fried chicken. However, people who are down for regular fried chicken don’t share the love of spicy.
I’d say that death metal is like spicy chicken. People who don’t like death metal aren’t getting into the new Suffocation album, but people are into death metal are going to buy, stream, or steal this for sure.
It’s well-deserved. Just like fried chicken being an institution of great food, Suffocation has been crushing the ears of the death metal-loving masses for a very long time. Their new album, …Of the Dark Light, in their eighth studio album.
If you don’t like death metal, this probably means nothing to you. Let me ask you, do you also not like hot chicken? Hot chicken is delicious and good.
I wasn’t an OG with Suffocation. My introduction to the band was their fourth album, released in 2004, titled Souls to Deny. I thought it was good. I’ve listened to the band on and off since then, but mostly their older material.
The twist on this newest album – it is awfully hard to reinvent the death metal wheel in 2017 – is more new members. I haven’t kept track of their band member activity, but I have a rough idea. Souls to Deny was produced after a six-year break for the band. It also marked the return of two original members. That means they had guitarist and drummer changes a few times. That remains true on …Of the Dark Light. This new album introduces a new drummer and guitarist.
I have to be honest, I can’t tell if there is much of a difference. As I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t in early on Suffocation and I like them. The new album doesn’t seem like much of a departure from the material I listened to previously. Consistency is good for Suffocation, because they have what I consider to be a somewhat unique sound.
It’s easy for metal bands to kind of drone on and cancel each other out. That doesn’t happen here. Something about the vocalist sounds unique to me. Even with members changes, the bulk of their songwriting sounds very familiar to me. I feel at home even if the band has continued to change members. I know Suffocation when I hear Suffocation and that’s a good thing.
A few blast beats sprinkled over riffing grooves and relentless bass kicks. That’s the recipe for solid material. Only one track on this album, the title track, ends awkwardly. Everything else seems to fall into place.
There seems to be a certain amount of quality that you can count on from Suffocation. It’s nine tracks. Not 10 or 12 or 16. It’s not 14 minute sagas or snooze fests like the ever-popular drone and sludge or doom bands. I’m pretty sure the longest song gets on the stopwatch at 4:36.
All my friends who like hot chicken and death metal should check this. The worst part of the album is the artwork. It looks like it took a lot of skill to piece it together, but it doesn't look like an epic death metal piece of art and that's weird to me.
by Daniel Coughlin