Suffering Hour – The Cyclic Reckoning

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Forest Lake Minnesota’s blackened death metal trio Suffering Hour is back with their sophomore outing “The Cyclic Reckoning”, out via Profound Lore Records on February 19th, 2021. Formed in 2013 by DgS (vocals, bass), IsN (drums, vocals), and YhA (lead guitars), Suffering Hour began experimenting with their claustrophobic dissonant cacophony on their first full-length. The sophomore now manifests several methods of incorporating the dense elements of black metal. “The Cyclic Reckoning” evokes atonal dissonance by maintaining the density of the songs, the five new tracks are a testimony of their musical progression.

There are some notable changes concerning the newest album. First thing first, is that the band has reduced the use of the guttural growls and the brutality somehow feels lessened. While the music can be referred to as a modern style of death metal, Suffering Hour seems to raise the scale of their musical prowess. The eerie suspense of the opening track “Strongholds of Awakening” spews dark resonance. The colossal inception of emphasizing boisterous riffs and the tremolos comes with the gradual outburst of the torrential blast beats. The low-pitched vocals clash between the atonal tremolos which clearly bring ostensible similarities to bands such as Svartidaudi.  

On the sophomore effort, Suffering Hour managed to illustrate harmonious aspects as each of the five tracks exhibit fine musical contents. “Transcending Antecedent Visions” is achieved by bringing clear variation, from the sonorous melodies and the harmonious qualities of the lead guitars delivering a unique cacophonous of dissonance. The intelligent approach to blackened death metal makes them peculiar. Suffering Hour’s formula makes them ahead of the stereotype bands, there is also some technical standard that seemingly infused within the band’s psyche. The music is harsh but is also refined yet there are many slower sections that allow the dark tonality of the riffs to intersect the beautiful atmosphere. The tenebrous passages ebb and flow whereas the music explores the darker spheres of cacophony. 

At first “The Abrasive Black Dust Part II” felt like an instrumental track where the dense instrumentation was beautifully orchestrated by the array of the streaming melodies. Within the changing riffs, Suffering Hour creates a kaleidoscopic picturesque of cosmos hence providing an immersive listening experience. The multi-textural atmosphere on the following track “Obscuration” focuses on the tremolo-picked-riffs. The track meanders between mid-paced riffing, providing coherent musicianship. “The Cyclic Reckoning” has fewer chaotic moments when compared to its predecessor, though the crucial moments usually befall when the drumming becomes intense. The low throaty growls and the riffing complexity are on the constant shift from death metal to black metal.

The final track “The Foundations of Servitude” is the centerpiece of this album and it’s the longest track fixed at sixteen-minutes. It begins with a brooding atmosphere in the background when the guitars unleash a scourge of tremolos amidst the swirling dissonance. Suffering Hour musical alchemy allows a smooth transition to atonal black metal riffing, the growling and the tremolos are professionally combined. Whereas the guitars create a dark and atmospheric sensation to expand on the mid-tempo. Suffering Hour’s sophomore album is recommended for fans of Bølzer, Deathspell Omega, and Zhrine, and if you liked the previous effort then you most likely won’t be disappointed here. 

Release Date: February 19th, 2021
Label: Profound Lore Records
Track list:

  1. Strongholds of Awakening
  2. Transcending Antecedent Visions
  3. The Abrasive Black Dust Part II
  4. Obscuration
  5. The Foundations of Servitude


  • Music9/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 8/10
  • Production / Mixing9/10
  • Artwork8/10
  • Originality9/10
8.6“The Cyclic Reckoning” evokes the atonal dissonance by maintaining the density of the songs, the five new tracks are testimony of the musical progression. Hence making their music somehow similar to the sound of the Icelandic black metal bands.
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