Album Reviews, Artists / Bands, Culture, Metal / Hard Rock — April 8, 2013 at 10:00 am

REVIEW: Suffocation – Pinnacle of Bedlam



Artist Name: Suffocation
Title Name: Pinnacle of Bedlam
Label: Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by: Fabio Marraccini 

Few people outside the metal circles know how difficult it is to play it, let alone the death metal sub-genre, in particular. Many people think this sub-genre is just noise – and they don’t know how wrong they are! Like it or not, the level of musicianship and skill required is very high. Around 20 odd years ago some bands decided to raise the bar even higher, and the moniker technical death metal was born. One of the exponents of the genre was Suffocation that stamp marked the scene with three seminal releases, and then called it quits, only to reform after the turn of the century. Pinnacle of Bedlam is therefore their fourth release after reforming, seventh overall, and proves that their metallic melting pot is still running quite hot. Once again mixing sheer musical brutality with scary vocals while taking their instruments to the edge of what is humanly possible, they’ve unleashed 10 relentless torpedoes targeted at avid fans of the genre.

“Cycles of Suffering” is the opening act, and starts off so suddenly that I thought my music player was broken or had skipped the beginning of the track. It’s a direct hit with disturbing melodies and absurdly fast galloping riffs. “Purgatorial Punishment” follows with a slower intro rapidly interrupted by furious blasts, while the highlight “Eminent Wrath” brings back the old school tremolos and eerie melodies that built up the genre many years ago, with clearer playing and a more crystalline production. Later in the album, the title track stands out for its use of incredibly chaotic riffs followed by an ominous progression of melodies that culminate in a mesmerizing solo, followed by a sequence of tempo breaks. 

The whole production lets their musicianship shine through. It’s all well balanced and clear, especially the drums. Typically when drums are this fast, the fills and rolls are all muddied together – not the case here. The release lasts under forty minutes; it seems shorter, as the songs are so direct, so furious, so tight, that there is not much time to breathe. As they say, good times go fast, so when you reach the end of this album, just push play again – or listen to it with your repeat function enabled. After a few times through, you will notice that the record is so solid that it could start and end anywhere, with not much highs and lows.  


Artist website

Pinnacle of Bedlam - Suffocation


Suffocation – As Grace Descends

Listen to Pinnacle of Bedlam on DEEZER