Suffocation Pinnacle of Bedlam

Suffocation Pinnacle of Bedlam eds reviewProduct Classification: Audio CD

Title: Suffocation Pinnacle of Bedlam

Release Date: 15th February 2013

Genre: Technical death metal

Rating: Mature

Label: Nuclear Blast America

Number of Discs: 1

Production: Joe Cincotta, Suffocation chronology, Blood Oath

Mode: CD

Media: Disc

Languages: English (USA)

Even for an edgy band such as Suffocation, ‘Pinnacle of Bedlam’ pushes the boundaries. It is the group’s 7th studio album and is full of the American death metal traditions. In fact this is the band’s first full effort not featuring Mike Smith since ‘Pierced from Within’. Rather they have given the gig to their returning drummer Dave Culross. It is the first time that he is making a full record with the group. The last time he participated in the group releases was in 1998 during the production of ‘Despise the Sun ’. The CD Tracklisting is as follows:

1. “Cycles of Suffering” 3:56
2. “Purgatorial Punishment” 2:44
3. “Eminent Wrath” 3:40
4. “As Grace Descends” 3:04
5. “Sullen Days” 4:57
6. “Pinnacle of Bedlam” 3:42
7. “My Demise” 4:03
8. “Inversion” 3:50
9. “Rapture of Revocation” 3:49
10. “Beginning of Sorrow” 4:32

That makes 38 minutes and 17 seconds of pure hard metal. Frank Mullen is sultry on the vocals while Guy Marchais and Terrance Hobbs do their thing on the guitars. Derek Boyer is the strong bass while Dave Culross makes his return debut on the drums. One notable feature is Mike Smith who is a guest artist on the drums in ‘Beginning of Sorrow’. Joe Cincotta is responsible for the production and engineering aspects of the album while Chris Harris masters and mixes the music.

Suffocation Pinnacle of Bedlam Overview

There is something really brutal about ‘Pinnacle of Bedlam’. The instruments almost clash, drowning out the growling in some places. However this brutality is like an addiction. Once you hear the first howl, you will be glued to the rest of the album. It is incredible to think that this is what could be diplomatically described as an ‘experienced’ band. They have so much energy and the speed of delivery belies their collective age. The death hardcore genre is not always in synch with the mainstream of the music industry. However this is a chance to see what the fuss is all about. Of course the hardcore fans (pardon the pun) will always know what they want. Suffocation gives it to them with no mercy.

To be fair these New Yorkers have been doing this sort of thing for years with great (but often unacknowledged) success. For a hardcore band, they use a number of ‘softer’ influences such as jazz. The danger in doing such a hard and fast album is that the textual subtleties of the music are sometimes drowned out by the noise. Thankfully this does not happen to ‘Pinnacle of Bedlam’ which is a well balanced set. It is worth noting that the drumming is one of the highlights of this remarkable record. The dexterity of the players is a lesson for younger guitarists. A multitude of colors are developed even amidst the powerful sound so that you do not feel as if you are being overwhelmed by crazy noises.

There is no doubt that ‘Pinnacle of Bedlam’ is a hardcore album. However it has enough subtlety to keep your interest well beyond the forty or so minutes it lasts. This is definitely a triumph for Suffocation and the genre as a whole.

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About Ed Stanley

I am a bit of a 'junkie' when it comes to any electronics. Everything that's new and old. Having been around the stuff all my life since our family has had a shop for three generations. I aim to make each review informative and entertaining. Any thoughts - please make a comment. Anything you want me to review, please send me an email or comment below.

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