Suffocation - Of The Dark Light review

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Band: Suffocation
Album: Of The Dark Light
Release date: June 2017

01. Clarity Through Deprivation
02. The Warmth Within The Dark
03. Your Last Breaths
04. Return To The Abyss
05. The Violation
06. Of The Dark Light
07. Some Things Should Be Left Alone
08. Caught Between Two Worlds
09. Epitaph Of The Credulous

Four years after Pinnacle Of Bedlam and with two new additions in the line-up, drummer Eric Morotti and guitarist Charlie Errigo, Suffocation are back with a new album. The expectations from a band that has shown remarkable consistency in its output quality and has played an important part in shaping much of what death metal is today are always high. The question is if Of The Dark Light meets these expectations.

Those who were worried about the changes that the two fresh members would bring to the Suffocation sound can breathe a sigh of relief; there are minimal elements of evolution throughout Of The Dark Light and the album features the brutality and technical prowess that one anticipates from the pioneers of the genre. However, it does not bring anything new to the table apart from the sci-fi and metaphysical references in the lyrics and artwork.

Frank Mullen's growling vocals are as gut-ripping as ever, but one can still make out some of the lyrics, which is a good thing. The instrumental skill of the musicians is remarkable, with complex performances and precision throughout. On the production front, the approach is a bit too refined, but the sound of the bass guitar is impressive, enriching the songs with more than satisfactory volume and weight.

The troubling thing about this record is the lack of memorable compositions. The constant tempo changes and breakdowns are often uncalled for and sometimes seem like transitions to the next song. Add the fact that each track leads right into the next and you have a recipe for making the task of remembering which song is which very difficult. There are some nice ideas scattered around, like the breakdown of the title track or the ending of "Return To The Abyss". However, only "Clarity Through Deprivation", "Your Last Breaths" and especially "Caught Between Two Worlds" stuck in my mind and kept me hooked from start to finish. The latter arguably has the best riff in the album, but the same one is also used in "Some Things Should Be Left Alone"; a very poor choice for Suffocation's standards. This is just an example of why Of The Dark Light generally sounds repetitive and monotonous, which makes it a boring experience in the end, although its duration is less than 36 minutes.

While this latest output from the New York deathsters is not a bad release, the lack of variety and inspiration makes it an uninteresting one and things did not improve despite my numerous listening efforts. Needless to say that Of The Dark Light cannot hold a candle to the iconic albums Effigy Of The Forgotten and Pierced From Within, but it is always unfair and pointless to compare releases that are more than two decades apart. The fact that it is significantly inferior to its predecessor is what disappoints the most, along with the realisation that it took Suffocation four whole years to produce something as below their standards as this.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Production: 7


Written on 21.07.2017 by I was into this music when you were still in diapers.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 152 users
24.07.2017 - 00:24
After the first two listens I thought that this album was awesome. But then monotony started to creep in and I noticed that the initial awe was misguided. Such a shame.
Now loving:
Tribulation - The Lament
Tribulation - Nightbound
Tribulation - Subterranea
Tribulation - The World
Tribulation - Here Be Dragons
28.07.2017 - 04:01
While not a 10, it's better than a 6.4. (more like a 7 or 8)
19.09.2017 - 19:14
Its ok nothing too special i thought

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