Supuration
Reveries
Ok, this one threw me for a loop. I have a pretty limited exposure to Supuration; my only real point of reference was their 1993 oddball of an album, The Cube; and then bits and pieces of the various Supuration/S.U.P. permutations. I was aware of their trajectory following that path that so many innovative bands of their ilk follow; humble beginnings, being young and trying to be grimy-as-fuck all out brutality, then go on to discover King Crimson and good drugs and let their freak-flag-fly.Supuration in their formative first couple of years bring to mind the seductively funereal melody of Nihilist/Left Hand Path era Entombed, and the extended, linear/modal guitar lines characteristic of the early work of riff constructors such as Mameli, Lemay, or Schuldiner; all of which splashed liberally onto the unhinged “stumble-back/lurch-forward” rhythmic shuffle of Repulsion and early Napalm Death. The drummer in particular reminded me of Mick Harris’s heroic, yet ultimately unsuccessful attempt to transition from a hyperactive grindcore tub-thumper, to a more controlled death metal timekeeper.

Like the legions of demo death metal bands that exploded into every corner of the world between 1988-1991, young Supuration proudly wore their influences on their sleeves; but had enough of their own muse to not be completely derivative. Over time, they would move beyond their embrionic influences, evolving into their own thing entirely.

So, in familiarizing myself with the original material after listening to Reveries a few times, I realized these aren’t just straight re-recordings. Apparently most of these are new arrangements of old songs; a key difference is they replaced a lot of blurry early grind parts with a very staccato, mechanical riffing style that is closer in line with their modern material. Also, they’ve done a lot of cool melodic lead fills that bring to mind what Sepultura were doing on songs like “Dead Embrionic Cells”, or Dan Swano’s Pan-Thy-Monium.

I was really impressed by how stylistically literate this band is in classic death metal, which they speak fluently and flawlessly.  This is even more notable in light of how long it’s been since they diverged from their original sound to follow a more proggy/experimental path.

Also included on the tail end were three covers – “Shattered” by Paradise Lost, “The Beast” by Twisted Sister, and Anthrax’s “Among the Living”.

“Shattered” probably is the most straightforward and faithful cover amongst the 3; which is also probably the track best suited to a modern treatment from this band. Where the original was murky and somewhat loose rhythmically, Supuration’s version is coil-tight, poppy, and martial.

“Among the Living” – I was going to say something snarky about how “there’s nothing you can do to save an Anthrax song when you cover one”, but I liked how they just totally punted and went straight-up polka grind on it. The song is recognizable, but just barely. Really the best to be expected, given how banal I find the source material.

“The Beast” is deconstructed, then reconstructed; giving an already pretty rad song some real heft and menace. A cool detail is they dubbed in Dee Snider’s witchy/bitchy/bratty vocals from the original, so you have a dual vocal thing going on. I thought it was a neat little detail, and think this cover was the best of the three.

With a few exceptions, I typically don’t give these sort of releases too much of my time; mostly it screams midlife crisis, creative bankruptcy, or just blatant accumulation of filthy lucre.

However, since I don’t have that nostalgic attachment to the original versions of these songs, I dug this quite a bit. It fits well amongst a lot of those old school death metal veterans that are revisiting their roots and mining deep veins creatively over the last several of years – Think Asphyx, Hail of Bullets, Bolt Thrower, Unanimated; the newest Paradise Lost album. Worth at least a listen or two.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Timothy D White
August 31st, 2015

Comments

  1. Commented by: Nick K

    Killer write up Tim. This is one of those bands i always remember being tempted to buy when sifting through old Relapse records mail order catalogs when i was in high school. Glad to see they are still recording material. I did a review of a Unique Leader band called Kronos from France. Those guys have been together over 20 years as well. It’s amazing how much good stuff Listenable has put out over the years. Good year for death metal in general this year. NK


  2. Commented by: Timothy D White

    @Nick K
    Thanks, man. I appreciate the shout out fo sho; and am gratified that you got something out of it.

    -Tim


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