Pinnacle of Bedlam

Pinnacle of Bedlam

This album by the New York death metal band Suffocation marks the return of drummer Dave Culross, who's also lent his skills to Malevolent Creation, Mortician, Incantation, HatePlow, Gorgasm, and Disgorged. Though he hasn't drummed with Suffocation since 1998's Despise the Sun, it’s hardly surprising (but nonetheless impressive) that he sounds right at home from the opening and uproarious “Cycles of Suffering.” The speed-metal guitar work of Terrance Hobbs and Guy Marchais buzzes violently, like someone stuck a microphone into a bulging wasp’s nest. “Purgatorial Punishment” gets more complex, with stuttered drumming and stop-start rhythms. Over chugging guitars and subtle harmonic touches, Frank Mullen growls with what sounds like prerequisite Cookie Monster vocals pitched down to a demonic timbre. It’s easy to imagine Hobbs' and Marchais’ guitars igniting in “Eminent Wrath”: a moshpit-friendly attack on the eardrums that takes fretboard-shredding to the next level. Similarly, “Pinnacle of Bedlam” contrasts thunderous rhythms with guitar leads played so fast that trying to follow each note could quite possibly induce a stroke.

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