Blood Oath

I, like many others, have a deep fondness for Pierced From Within. For many, it’s like a capstone to the silver age of death metal, a brutal yet technically complex episode embedded in the minds of the long time fans; the guys that had seen a Tirant Sin show or two in a garage or a basement in lieu of watching Motley Crue at Madison Square Garden. For others, like myself, we appreciate the influence these New York boys hammered down on that album for budding prodigies and clone-happy misfits alike. Suffocation, for this reason, is a band that will never be forgotten, though three albums into their reunion some may question their relevance in new album Blood Oath.

These boys are starting to sound sticky with miasma. The title track practically oozes muck and mire. It’s unquestionably Suffocation, but at the same time, and this is key, I feel they might have taken some influence from a Mesopotamian-god worshipping band. I don’t want to name names, but thematically they’re starting to sound a little like Morbid Angel, and though it’s not a bad thing to carry the same connotations as another admirable death metal band, that isn’t what some of us are looking for in Suffocation. On the other hand, tracks like “Pray for Forgiveness” and “Come Hell or High Priest” provide a Suffocation stable we’ve come to rely upon, offering labyrinthine guitar solos and ball busting bass growls accompanied in no short supply by the ever-popular “Suffo-blast.”

The major problem this time around is the complex song structures. Some offer little segue into a new riff or time signature, and other times it’s so weird it sounds like Frank isn’t even in time with the song. Yeah, yeah, I know, how could I bust Suffocation’s chops around for being too technical? Sure, the guys know their audience, and they play incredibly well, but I feel like some of these songs will be hard for newcomers to digest right off the bat, unlike their earlier work. Pierced is mesmerizing in its cacophonous execution; Blood Oath is not so easily digestible.

It is kinda fun to see Suffocation take a stab at a slightly different production sound than the last two efforts, and some of the riffs are meaty, head-pounding monsters. But they’ve also sacrificed some identity in doing so. Folks, this one’s a toss-up. I await my death at the hands of voracious Suffocation fans who balk at my indifferent response to the album, but fuck it, I’m gonna take the shrug card and let you fine folks decide.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kris Yancey
July 13th, 2009


  1. Commented by: Red

    Ya know, I ‘ve personally kept myself from hearing anything off of this until I get to listen to the album as a whole. Though others I know who have heard the new disc have pretty much gave the same opinion as this review. I guess I’ll find out for myself tomorrow. Good review though…

  2. Commented by: Sandwiches

    Wasn’t this released on nuclear blast? Anyway I’m very anxious to hear this. I simply haven’t gotten around to it yet

  3. Commented by: Sandwiches

    Ya this is their nuclear blast debut. They’re not on relapse anymore. Anyway…

  4. Commented by: emperorjvl

    Good album, though the s/t was catchier.

  5. Commented by: appollyonx

    I love Pierced from Within.I think that that album will be the watermark that Suffocation are held up to,simply becuz it was such a crushing album.This one…Not so much.It is a good album,but it took me a few listens before I could really get into it.Without writing a full review I’ll say it’s good but not as good.

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