Pinnacle of Bedlam

Written by: EW on 02/03/2013 21:14:14

As the fourth album since their 2002 reformation "Pinnacle of Bedlam" takes brutal death metal maestros Suffocation past the 3-album mark they attained before splitting during the demise of metal in the mid-90s. It is pretty clear that the influence of their early records will never be matched (nor the gritty production values) but as a mark of intent "Cycles of Suffering" sets the standard - a more immediate introduction to an album I cannot remember - with Frank Mullen's gruff vocals hammering against the de rigueur technical song structures that define the band as the song flows through winding rhythm passages and finger-tapping solos in the typically solid way that these New Yorkers do things.

"Eminent Wrath" intersperses the blastbeat driven passages that have always sent the pits wild with a pleasant amount of fretboard dexterity while "Purgatorial Punishment" distinguishes itself with some strong soloing in another uncompromising 3 minutes. As a reflection on the similarities in guitar tone that is unfortunately prevalent across the landscape of high-production metal releases these days the opening to "As Grace Descends" could be easily mistaken as being culled from a modern Exodus record before the song at least progresses in its latter section into the most dynamic period thus far.

And so it continues. The feeling of 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' is at the heart of the Suffocation remit in the 21st Century as the album continues to flow through offering no surprises to existing fans of the band. Closing trio "Inversion", "Rapture of Revocation" and "Beginning of Sorrow" prove just how little Suffocation have mellowed with age as they offer no respite from the barrage. How does this hold up against previous outings? I am not finding that much lingers in the memory once the 38 minutes up but with the formula hardly having changed and the production that bit sharper I don't expect to hear many disappointed Suffocation fans following their "Pinnacle of Bedlam".


Download: As Grace Descends, Pinnacle of Bedlam
For The Fans Of: Origin, Cannibal Corpse
Listen: Facebook

Release date: 15.02.2013
Nuclear Blast Records

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