Suffocation

Despise the Sun

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This five-song EP was Suffocation's first release after their split with Roadrunner Records, and until they surprisingly announced that they were re-forming in early 2003, it also looked to be their last release, period. Originally released on the small Vulture label and later reissued by Relapse in 2002, this disc is prime Suffocation, or in other words, brutal New York-style death metal at its best. For all their imitators over the years, this quintet remains unmatched when it comes to this type of battering, hardcore-laced death metal. These songs are highly complex without sounding forced or arbitrary -- check out the deceptively simple odd-time-signature maneuvers at the beginning of opener "Funeral Inception" for merely one example -- but they're also memorable in a way that few other bands in this style can manage. As always, the guitar interplay of Doug Cerrito and Terrence Hobbs is top-notch, and Frank Mullen's growling vocals are as intimidating and menacing as anyone's. While only 16 minutes long, this EP is as good -- minute per minute -- as Suffocation's standout 1995 full-length Pierced From Within, and despite the presence of not-always-ideal producer/engineer Scott Burns once again, the sound is actually better than it was on that album. Recommended.

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