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3.91 | 14 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2009


1. Blood Oath (3:53)
2. Dismal Dream (3:15)
3. Pray for Forgiveness (3:38)
4. Images of Purgatory (3:26)
5. Cataclysmic Purification (4:52)
6. Mental Hemorrhage (3:53)
7. Come Hell or High Priest (4:05)
8. Undeserving (4:09)
9. Provoking the Disturbed (5:17)
10. Marital Decimation (4:16)
11. Pray for Forgiveness (instrumental version) (3:40)
12. Dismal Dream (rough mix un-mastered) (3:15)

Total Time: 47:46

The limited edition has a red jewel case with a bag of other items and has the bonus tracks:
11. Blood Oath (Instrumental Version)
12. Cataclysmic Purification (Rough Mix Un-Mastered)

iTunes bonus tracks:
11. Undeserving (Rough Mix Un-Mastered)
12. Marital Decimation (Instrumental Version)

The blood pack limited to 500 and the Russian release by Irond Records have the bonus tracks:
11. Pray for Forgiveness (Rough Mix Un-Mastered)
12. Dismal Dream (Instrumental Version)
13. Blood Oath (Instrumental Version)
14. Cataclysmic Purification (Rough Mix)

Marital Decimation is a re-recorded track from the Breeding the Spawn album.


- Frank Mullen / Vocals
- Terrance Hobbs / Guitars
- Guy Marchais / Guitars
- Derek Boyer / Bass
- Mike Smith / Drums

About this release

Nuclear Blast Records
July 3rd, 2009

Recorded @ FullForce Recording Studios.
Co-produced by Suffocation.

Thanks to bartosso for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"Blood Oath" is the 6th full-length studio album by US death metal act Suffocation. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in July 2009. It´s the successor to the eponymously titled album from 2006. Suffocation for once had a pretty stable lineup and there have been no changes in personale between the two releases. Almost as usual the band have opted to re-record a track from "Breeding the Spawn (1993)" in "Marital Decimation" (they´ve done this several times in the past). The remaining tracks are new original material.

Stylistically the material on "Blood Oath" continues the ultra brutal sound and technically well played death metal style that Suffocation are known for. This time around it´s like they´ve changed things up a bit though, as it´s like there are more memorable moments and even a bit more melody present than usual for the band. One of the greatest assets on "Blood Oath" are the many well played guitar solos. I don´t recall hearing this many guitar solos on any other album release by the band up until "Blood Oath". Über brutal yet sligthly intelligible growling vocals by Frank Mullen, intricate and fast guitar riffing spiced up with some really brutal and heavy breakdowns, technical drumming featuring multible tempo changes and breaks, and a delightfully clicky sounding and high in the mix bass that provides an extra dimension to the music rarely heard in death metal. The sound production is raw, brutal, and simply spot on and brings out the best in the music.

Usually a Suffocation album demands many spins and full attention before hooks and highlights begin to appear. "Blood Oath" is no different in that respect, but tracks like "Provoking the Disturbed" and the title track stood out almost immediately and as mentioned above, the material is generally slightly more catchy than anything Suffocation had produced up until then. If you are familiar with the band´s discography you´ll know that Suffocation have pretty much stuck to their guns throughout their career. In many ways "Blood Oath" gives you more of the same but with a little extra in terms of more variation and stylistic details that help the music sound fresh and inspired, and which makes "Blood Oath" stand out a bit in the band´s discography. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
Intelligent death metal (IDM?)

I like my death metal weird. Whether it's an unusual concept, creative approach to technicality or bizarre influences, I always hope for something to knock my socks off. As long as it's not over the top, cliched or symphonic, I can take it. And while Blood Oath didn't exactly make me barefooted, it certainly made me listen.

The first thing that sticks out is the production. The way Blood Oath sounds is an exemplary case of well-done, modern yet organic production. While many modern acts decide to enhance the sound with computer software, multi-layering or whatnot, Suffocation achieved a perfect balance between clarity and brutality. All instruments have their space in the mix and all frequencies sound both very natural and ear-friendly. Speaking of instruments, we've got a prominent presence of bass guitar here. Derek Boyer does some fantastic bass work in the album and I think his playing is one of the things I enjoyed most about Blood Oath. It's not a revolutionary record from Suffocation and it's obvious that the guys have no ambition to change death metal anymore. They've done what they've done in the 90s and now they'd rather evolve slowly. The riffs, in which Terence Hobbs and Guy Marchais manage to combine groove with technicality, are surely the highlights of this album. And there's quite a lot of those. Both guitarists are very creative and if they ground out more of those original, twisted riffs (as for example opening and middle themes of "Images of Purgatory" or fantastic groovy riff in "Come Hell or High Priest"), that album would be essential.

All in all, I find Blood Oath to be a very, very good release that gave me a lot of enjoyment. The music is brutal, technical and intricate as befits New York death metal. Still, the imaginative parts I've mentioned are a bit watered down by more generic, brutal death metal riffing so some progress towards experimentation would be very welcome. A must-have for every fan of american death metal.

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