It’s been four years since SUFFOCATION released Pinnacle of Bedlam. But one listen to new record …Of the Dark Light (out now, Nuclear Blast Records) and it’s like they never went away. Now I wasn’t there during the 90’s so my first intro to the band was Bedlam maybe two years ago (forgive me!). Which is a shame being as I’m a Long Island boy, but I’m making up for lost time, trust me. There’s some new blood in the band too, in the form of drummer Eric Morotti and guitarist Charlie Errigo to go along with guitarist/majority songwriter Terrance Hobbs and bassist/lyricist Derek Moyer. And I think that new blood has definitely given the group a renewed vigor because they come out swinging on this release.
Joe Cincotta’s Full Force Studios in Long Island was the setting for these recordings. This marks the fifth time the band recorded there and the results are nothing short of spectacular. Mixing and mastering was handled by Chris ‘Zeuss’ Harris , a guy who, when he puts his stamp on a recording you can feel every punch from the music. The songs on this album fucking hit you over the head with a cinderblock, Every. Goddamn. One. Of. Them. Opener “Clarity Through Deprivation”, “Your Last Breaths”, and “Return to the Abyss” are especially pummeling and Hobbs is doing some of the best writing of his career 30 years in. “The Warmth Within the Dark” has a vocal pattern that sounds like Satan Himself is coming through your speakers, love it!
Founding member Frank Mullen is the main vocalist, and together with contributing vocalist Kevin Muller the two weave their way through this sonic Death Metal tapestry with great results. The aforementioned “Return to the Abyss” and “The Violation” really stick out for the vocals in particular. The title track is an all-out rager that is now my current ringtone and demands repeat listens. “Some Things Should Be Left Alone” is blast beat central, Morotti going to town from the tip-off, and “Caught Between Two Worlds” really shows off the guitar work of Hobbs and Errigo. Best thing too is that roughly one minute in all Hell breaks loose and the guys go off!
Closing the disc is “Epitaph of the Credulous”, another one I fell for instantly and is guaranteed to be my NEXT ringtone for sure! Look, when all is said and done, the cream rises to the top, especially in metal. And with …Of the Dark Light, SUFFOCATION have shown that is EXACTLY where they belong. Like I said, every single song slays, with not one weakness to be found. So you best believe this one is right up there with HOUR OF PENANCE as a contender for The Maestro’s Death Metal Album of the Year. I don’t think there’s anything more I can say now, is there?
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM