Hymns From the Apocrypha

So here it finally is…. the new Suffocation album, and notably the first release without original vocalist Frank Mullen, since the band formed in 1990. While other members (other than the other lone original member, guitarist Terrance Hobbs), have come and gone, Frank and Terrance have been there since day one, so this album is kind of a big deal.

And while the current members (bassist Derek Boyer, drummer Charle Errigo, guitarist Eric Morotti) have been on albums for a while now, Frank Mullen was a legend, so Ricky Myers (Disgorge) has big shoes to fill, even though he has been touring with the band since 2019. I’ve seen him on two of those tours, and he’s just fine live, and on this record, he fills those shoes admirably. Though to be honest casual fans won’t really be able to tell the difference, as he has a similar cadence and delivery as ol’ Frank did, having perfected on the last few years on those aforementioned tours (he has the Frank chop down too).

S0 this lineup (minus Frank), was responsible for 2017s ...Of The Dark Light ( though I preferred 2013s Pinnacle of Bedlam). ….Of the Dark Light was solid but wasn’t quite the send-off Frank deserved as the lineup was finding its footing, it didn’t quite feel like a Suffocation album at times, from the title, artwork and song titles like “Some Things Should Be Left Alone”, “Caught Between Two Worlds” or “The Warmth Within the Dark”.

But one look at the Giannis Nakos (Torn the Fuck Apart, Vomitory, and a bunch of prog /power metal, and I’ll admit, I thought it was Dan Seagrave at first) artwork for Hymns From the Apocrypha, and ‘classic’ sounding song titles like “Perpetual Deception”, or “Immortal Execration”, “Seraphim Enslavement”, and you kind of get the feeling the album is going to rule.

And boy does it ever.

True to form and  like…Of the Dark Light  there’s around 30 minutes of new Suffocation music and a cover. And every minute is absolutely-fucking-glorious,-top-notch,-arguably-the-best-they’ve-been-since-Pierced-From-Within. Yeah, it’s better than Pinnacle of Bedlam or Blood Oath.

So let’s get to it (finally!).

The opening title track sets the tone immediately, at almost 6 minutes long, and features a sneaky, crafty riff in the ‘chorus’, that might be one of the better, more well-crafted riffs they’ve written. Then we get into the utterly bludgeoning duo of “Perpetual Deception” and “Dim Veil of Obscurity”, two classic Suffocation bruisers. And then a couple of songs later, one of the album’s standouts in “Immortal Execration”, with a massive opening stanza, then a booty-shaking, song-ending breakdown that’s sure to be a live classic, and bands realistically shouldn’t be adding new classics to their live sets this late in their career.

And on the rest of the album’s next 5 killer songs, there simply isn’t a weak track. “Seraphim Enslavement” is a throwback that could have come from Effigy of the Forgotten while “Descendants”  and “Embrace the Suffering” (with another of the album’s best breakdowns/grooves) is modern Suffocation being a little more creative with their brutality, and could have come from ..Of the Dark Light. The closing duo of the punishingly classic standout “Delusion of Mortality” and the moodier end cap “Ignorant Deprivation” from Breeding the Spawn (redo the whole album with this production please!!!!!!).

Christian Donaldson (Cryptopsy, Ingested, etc) has fixed the band’s inconsistent production since  Souls to Deny, and the album sounds absolutely huge, finally befitting Suffocation’s status and songs, helping make Hymns From the Apocrypha easily the band’s best effort since the 90s, which almost 30 years later, and sans a legendary frontman is an fucking impressive feat.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
November 6th, 2023


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