Thursday, 5 July 2012

SUFFOCATION - Breeding The Spawn (1993)

01  Beginning Of Sorrow
02  Breeding The Spawn
03  Epitaph Of The Credulous
04  Marital Decimation
05  Prelude To Repulsion
06  Anomalistic Offerings
07  Ornaments Of Decrepancy
08  Ignorant Deprivation

'Breeding The Spawn' is the second full-length album by Suffocation released by Roadrunner Records on May 18th 1993. Suffocation originally intended to record again with Scott Burns and Morrisound Recording but like with Malevolent Creation and their 'Stillborn' album, Roadrunner Records refused to pay for that studio and forced the band to record elsewhere. The result was fans and critics alike hating the sound, unlike Malevolent Creation however Roadrunner Records kept Suffocation under contract and allowed them to record with Scott Burns for 'Pierced From Within'. The album is also noteworthy for being Mike Smith's last involvement with the band until their reformation. The situation with the recording process for this album is one of the major reasons for him leaving the band the first time round.

If you want to understand the appeal of this band, the title track of this album is as good a place to direct your ears as any. "Breeding The Spawn" is one of Suffocation's classic anthems, and the band thought so highly of the song they decided to re-record it on their following album, Pierced from Within (worthy of note, Suffocation has actually re-recorded several songs from this album on subsequent releases, perhaps to provide the fans with well-produced versions). The highlight of the track is the slow, crawling, creepy riff in the middle of the song, which is one of Suffocation's many breakdowns which influenced all of their brutal death metal successors.

The first half of the album was mostly written by Doug Cerrito, the latter half mostly by Terrance Hobbes. It makes for a slight shift in tone and feel – broadly speaking, Cerrito’s music is more deliberately convoluted (the aforementioned title track is his) while Hobbes’ songs are somewhat more experimental in aesthetic and “melody”. Check 1:17 of “Anomalistic Offerings” for an interesting example of the latter. Perhaps also worth mentioning is the presence of solos from both guitar players in all of Suffocation’s music, as solos have largely been forsaken by the newer generation of brutal death metal bands.

It's worth mentioning that Frank Mullen's vocal performance on this album is incredible. He sounds different on every album, and this one is closer to his work on the two post-reunion albums in that it's raspy. But simultaneously, it's lower than those two, and less comprehensible (in a good way). It also has a fair amount of reverb which gives it a unique feel to other albums, making it sound closer to the "old school" death metal vocalists like Chuck Schuldiner and David Vincent. Another huge plus is that the bass really gets a chance to shine through with several sections featuring the bass as lead instrument. These are most noticeable in the title track, "Epitaph of the Credulous", "Prelude to Repulsion" and "Ignorant Deprivation".

As I see it, although this album doesn't quite make it into the category of being an essential release, it is remarkably close to it. I admit that some people will be upset with the production quality, and although I think that's foolish, I also accept that it is a legitimate complaint. For me, the key to this album is the evolution of the band's sound and what it meant for the technical death metal genre. If you ask me, it meant very, very good things.

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