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SUFFOCATION Hymns From The Apocrypha

By Francisco Zamudio, Metal X Candy 2.0
Tuesday, November 21, 2023 @ 10:08 AM


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SUFFOCATION
Hymns From The Apocrypha

Nuclear Blast




Can you think of a Metal band that has survived 30 years and still has all its original members? ...go ahead, I'll wait... Hard to think of one, right? It's also an endless discussion of when a band should call it quits or change their name when there's been multiple if not at least one change in band members. Sometimes it's immediately felt and heard in the music too and from there it's either hit or miss. Thankfully there are those who, dare I say, maintain their heaviness and creativity. In this case, I'm talking about the mighty SUFFOCATION, or as us long time fans like to say, "SUFFO". Their recent Nuclear Blast Records full-length release titled Hymns From The Apocrypha is an outstanding example of a band that can overcome so much through decades of dedication to Death Metal. Long-standing members Guitarist Terrance Hobbs and Bassist Derek Boyer, who I was able to have a lengthy chat with (check it out HERE). Now on their 9th album and what I feel is one of their most brutally powerful performances, capturing many of the elements that made SUFFOCATION a household name.

Brutal Death Metal is supposed to sound like this. Through 9 solid tracks (the only reason I knocked off half a point in my rating is I would have liked a 10th or 11th track), the amount of brutality on this record is really intense. Never at any moment is there a sense of unorganized and distorted calamity. There is definitely order to this chaos. No doubt and as Derek explained in our chat, it helped immensely that they had a real hands-on, nearly DIY, approach to this album as a large majority of the work was done at their home studio 'InLine Studio' in their home of Long Island. Derek and Terrance along with the help of Christian Donaldson (BENEATH THE MASSACRE, INGESTED) all produced the album, with mixing and mastering done by Dominic Grimard, and a masterful job at that!

Capturing the sound of the self-titled release from 2006 and Derek's debut with the band and one of my favorite albums, plus elements from 2009's Blood Oath, which sadly was Drummer Mike Smith's final effort with the band, and a touch of Pinnacle Of Bedlam (2013), with the vintage sound from Effigy Of The Forgotten and definite hints of Souls To Deny (2004, another 1 of my favorite albums). Essentially Hymns From The Apocrypha captures SUFFOCATION's sound to a T. God forbid (pun intended) that they change their sound just because the faces in the band have changed. Although we give a high hails and hand-chops to vocalist Frank Mullen, the passing of the guard to Ricky Myers (DISGORGE drummer) that was captured on the recent live album LIVE IN NORTH AMERICA, was again the close of another chapter. He along with Guitarist Charlie Errigo and Drummer Eric (man-bun) Morotti are holding strong the name of SUFFOCATION. Hymns From The Apocrypha is a retaliation to ...Of The Dark Light (2017) which for me fell a little short but on this new record, the mighty SUFFO' comes back hard!

Some of my favorite tracks that encompass the true grit of what they successfully achieved on this record are "Dim Veil Of Oscurity", "Immortal Execration", "Descendents" and, along with Frank on vocals, a re-recorded version of "Ignorant Deprivation" from 1993's Breeding The Spawn, which despite their displeasure of the quality of sound (not the music), it is also one of my favorite albums as it was my first introduction to the band. Ever since 1995's phenomenal record Pierced From Within, they've re-recorded and released song after song from Breeding.... This, as pointed out by Derek, is part of their plan for, in his own words, 'Resurrecting The Spawn' to re-record and hopefully re-release Breeding... with better audio quality and modern studio technology at their disposal.

Be that as it may, Hymns From The Apocrypha is a superb album from beginning to end and is a solid effort from the Long Island Hall Of Famers (you really should check out my interview with Derek). An excellent turning of the page for SUFFOCATION, bring that Brutal sound from them that we all know and love, proving that they've never lost a step and have kept their focus in staying with tradition, never settling for less in a time where many bands lose traction - SUFFO' murders them all.

4.5 Out Of 5.0


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