Friday, 27 April 2012

SUFFER - Structures (1994)


1. Temporary Sane (3:34)
2. Passionate Structures (4:02)
3. Lies Within (3:58)
4. Selected Genes (3:35)
5. A Frenetic Mind (3:54)
6. Imaginary Homecoming (4:31)
7. The Killing Culture (3:28)
8. Freedom of Speech (4:39)

Suffer was a death/thrash hybrid formed in the Swedish town of Fagersta in 1998 by Joakim Öhman (guitar/vocals), Ulf Samuelsson (guitar), Patrik "Putte" Andersson (bass) and Per Karlsson (drums). They released a couple of demos and EPs between 1989 and 1993 before recording their one and only album to date, titled 'Structures' for Napalm Records. The band folded soon after and no reunion has yet to take place.

On 'Structures', the band's riffing is solid, but the real strength of the album lies in the drum work. If you look for an extremely technical jazz drummer, you will be better off searching elsewhere, but don’t shed a tear, because the guy behind the kit definitely knew what was needed. Some musicians tend to destroy and vandalise their instruments without caring about their musical performance, just to give the impression of an extraordinary show, for example during The Who’s prime time, every fan would have been disappointed by a live show where Pete Townshend didn’t trash at least one valuable guitar. Now Suffer’s drummer isn’t exactly keen to completely wreck his equipment, but he doesn’t deal gently with it either. His playing is tight and accurate, no single beat seems to be unnecessary, even though there are lots of unexpected fills and changes. Per Karlsson also has a nose for fitting implementations of double bass attacks, they appear at the right moments, sometimes just to flash up for a few seconds, sometimes to accentuate a faster or more aggressive part. I have the distinct feeling that if you added or took away only one single double hit, it wouldn’t sound as good.

Quite surprisingly, the bass is fairly audible most of the time, I can make out a several riffs, so that certainly speaks for the bassist and the quality of the mixing job. This album really isn’t focused on one outshining instrument, but the bass is the least important (I consciously didn’t use ‘unimportant’) part of a strong collective. The Joakim Öhman's shouting and bellowing is satisfactory, you can really hear him pressing the air out of his lungs, adding another tad of aggressiveness. The production is rather clean, but not polished, just as it should be for such an album. There’s only one thing that really bothers me about Structures: its length. Eight songs, all around four minutes long, add up to barely over half an hour of music, ten minutes more would have done no harm, but it’s not a bad record because of that. Will suit fans of Dismember and Asphyx.

“Structures” is the best work by Suffer, I think. Total extreme and very intense Death/Thrash with an original production. It’s heavy, some comparsion can be made with bands like Death, Cynic, Atheist... Still it is a bit thrashier than those mentioned groups. It's 50/50, either you like it or hate it! I think you would Love it." - Per Karlsson

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