I dunno about you guys but I am very fucking high on this new SOULBURN album The Suffocating Darkness, out now via Century Media Records. 16 years after their debut the band is back with a renewed line-up, energy, and vigor. Twan van Geel from LEGION OF THE DAMNED is now at the vocal helm and playing bass alongside core members Eric Daniels (guitars) and Bob Bagchus (drums) and new guitarist Remco Kreft (GRAND SUPREME BLOOD COURT, NAILGUN MASSACRE, XENOMORPH). They refer to themselves as Dark Grimm Metal, but I have to stick with Blackened Death Metal for them, because that is a much better classification for the evil songs they have unleashed upon us. Everything about this album is fantastic, from the production to van Geel’s vocals. Fuckin’ Hell this thing is just awesome all around!
Song-wise “Under the Rise of a Red Moon” and “Absinthesis” were the ones that jumped out on my first listen. But as I left the album on REPEAT something new caught my ears each time. I’m honestly floored by how much this album kills. And I know I’m gushing like a crazy person, but I can’t help it. Thrash-infused riffs combined with black metal vocals and drums make for a potent combination that will send the faint of heart running for the hills. This is especially true of “Hymn for the Forsaken II” and “Black Aura” two songs that will punish you over and over. The guitar tone on these is a combo of a kick in the nether regions and a kidney punch right after. Jeezus!
“I Do Not Bleed From Your Crown of Thorns” has all the makings of a big, ambitious potboiler of a song. It’s slower in tempo, but the guttural, primal intensity is there on every level. “The Mirror Void” also opts for a slower, darker approach at the outset then it kicks the door open and will fuck your world up like good Black Metal is supposed to. The bombastic attack of “In Suffocating Darkness” had me wanting to break windows and throw things, but that’s just me. I’m not right in the head. Trickery is afoot for “Wielding Death” a song that shifts gears from low and menacing to high-octane brutality. You all know how much I love it when songs do that; keeps things interesting.
The last official song is “Claws of Tribulation” and it just might have THE best guitar sound on this entire record. Closers are important to me, sometimes more so than openers. And on this one the band struck gold. It’s so good I almost can’t stand it. So, now that I’ve written what basically amounts to a SOULBURN love fest let me tell you the one problem I did have with the record: The fact there’s an intro and outro. As good at setting a tone as they are, I would have liked two more full-length numbers. But that’s just because I’m greedy. That and the fact that with The Suffocating Darkness, the members of SOULBURN have delivered a record that DESTROYS!! Pick this one up now…NOW!!
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM