“Hymns From The Apocrypha” is extremely curated with riff barrages and the trademark brutality of the classic Suffocation style, and demonstrates the perfect balance between technicality and uncompromising brutality. Starting with the album’s title track, Suffocation immediately takes its sound back to its gritty roots, however the nine tracks have their mixtures of brutal old-school refined sound. The departure of the former vocalist Frank Mullen resulted in finding the right replacement for the band, and the addition of Ricky Meyers as the lead vocalist fits in with the standard of the band.
The guitar playing on tracks like “Perpetual Deception” emphasizes the classic chugs and the concoctions of the riffs are in tandem with fast and complex drumming techniques. Terrance Hobbs and Charlie Errigo provide tons of meaty death metal riffs as well as abrupt breakdowns. While each track varies in the quality of the instrumentation, the tight musicianship between these new members somehow replicates the original style of Suffocation. Heavy chugging chords and slamming brutality come courtesy of the drummer Eric Morotti, who is noted for his abrasive percussive brutality and leaves no room for criticism. The shredding solos are crucial for the technicality skills, and this also applies to the riffing prowess.
“Dim Veil of Obscurity” is another superb piece of technical swaggering, with the drumming reaching an overwhelming speed and combining ultra-blast beats with inhuman precision. There’s something incredibly monstrous about the chunky riffing, and the sinister growls being one of the highlights of the album. The snare drums and the thick bass guitar are some of the noticeable aspects of the powerful performance, while all songs remain top quality. “Immortal Execration” is a classic mixture of brutal and technical death metal, albeit the slower tempo of the overall sound on this track might be less convincing.
The riff work isn’t as varied as the drumming that maintains the effect of brutality in utilizing excellent drum fills. And the blast beats are well-executed showing how the drummer Eric Morotti has a similar take on grindcore/death metal. “Seraphim Enslavement” is another brutal example of how the guitars can shift from heavy chords to a blistering-paced tempo, with the drumming force being absolutely relentless and insanely fast. Throughout forty-one minutes, Suffocation mercilessly pummels the listener with the intricate drumming and the groovy sections and the shredding solos keep you hooked up to the absolute bombardment.
The slower sections are well-placed throughout the album and tracks like “Descendants” are notable for the breakdown tempos. Even though the latest installment can be described as brutally insane and consistently abrasive, “Hymns From The Apocrypha” is the band’s best album since the 2009 album “Blood Oath” the technical details make the album as the top compliment of composition.
“Embrace The Suffering” includes some outstanding growls that deliver an intense aspect of classic brutal death metal, from the opening tremolo notes of the track to the blistering savagery there is a level of technicality that cannot be overlooked. There are some hints of bands like Cryptopsy and Dying Fetus that perfectly capture the unrelenting intensity of the music. Sledgehammering riffs drilling through your brains with the drums emphasizing intricate patterns, these moments are crucial.
“Delusions Of Mortality” navigates between the crushing double bass, and the bass guitar of Derek Boyer, adding a degree of depth to the focused blast beats. The soloing on this album is influenced by thrash metal bands like Slayer, and the deep feral growls of Ricky Meyers are top quality. There is no end to the forced destruction as the band showcases its technical abilities with a unique twist and songwriting intelligence. The riffs are chunky and filled with rapid tremolo picking including the melodies which in my opinion are somehow used less often than needed. There are plenty of power chords and dissonance in these tracks, and they are very well executed, and the bass guitar isn’t out of the sonic formula.
The closing track “Ignorant Deprivation” presents the volatile growls that seemingly sound different from the previous tracks in the album, but there are no questions about the dynamic sense of the drumming that constantly adds a dose of aggression.
- Music / Songwriting 8/10
- Vocals / Lyrics 8/10
- Mix / Production 9/10
- Artwork & Packaging 8/10
- Originality 8/10
Suffocation’s ninth album retains the respected attribute of sounding brutally insane and guarantees a lesson in slamming brutality of the NY death metal style.