"Breeding the Spawn" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US, New York based death metal act Suffocation. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in May 1993. Alledgedly economical circumstances meant that Suffocation were not allowed by Roadrunner Records, to record "Breeding the Spawn" at Morrisound Studios even though the band had achieved great success in that studio when they recorded their debut full-length studio album "Effigy of the Forgotten (1991)". Suffocation wanted to work with producer Scott Burns again but that was denied too by the label. So Suffocation ended up recording the album at Noise Lab, West Islip, New York with producer Paul Bagin. The turmoil surrounding the recording process alledgedly led to the departure of drummer Mike Smith soon after the release of "Breeding the Spawn".
...and the turmoil is unfortunately also audible when you listen to the album. Roadrunner Records decision not to allow Suffocation to record with Scott Burns at Morrisound Studios again is as close as it gets to sabotage. I don´t think I´ve ever read a review of "Breeding the Spawn" where the sound production isn´t mentioned as a weak link. Especially when compared to the strong and brutal sound production on "Effigy of the Forgotten (1991)". When that is said the raw, muddy, and unpolished sound production on "Breeding the Spawn" actually suits the material on the album pretty well. The technical details of the music are sometimes buried in the mix and especially the bass drums have a thud sound, so you´re not able to hear every kick clearly, but there is still a raw charm to the production, which aren´t necessarily present on the other albums by the band (maybe except on the "Human Waste (1991)" EP). It´s raw, it´s primitive, and it´s organic and authentic.
Stylistically the music on "Breeding the Spawn" more or less continues the brutal and technically well played death metal style of "Effigy of the Forgotten (1991)". Suffocation found their signature sound very early on in their career and they stuck to it. So this is ultra brutal and technically well played death metal featuring mutible tempo changes (everything from blast beats- to brutal mid-paced grooves- to ultra heavy breakdowns), breaks, brutal thrash oriented riffing, screaming solos, and Frank Mullen´s deep unintelligible growling vocals in front. Compared to his vocals on "Effigy of the Forgotten (1991)", there´s been a slight change though, as you´re now occasionally able to catch a phrase or a word or two, which to my ears makes the vocal part of this album much more interesting than the vocals on the predecessor. The vocals are quite intense and there´s a brutality factor here that is way beyond what most other contemporary death metal acts could (or would) muster. The band are very well playing and although the sound production occasionally muffles the performances, it´s still audible that everything is delivered with militant precision, and with both conviction and great passion.
So upon conclusion "Breeding the Spawn" is a high quality sophomore studio album by Suffocation. The raw and unpolished sound production is bound to turn some people off, but if you can look past it or even enjoy it, there are many great things to be found on the album. The tracks may be a bit one-dimensional and therefore hard to tell apart, but the recognisability factor grows with each new listen, and the high level musicianship helps pull in a positive direction. The uncompromising nature of the material shows that Suffocation are not aimed to please, but rather that they have their own agenda, and that they won´t leave the path they are on, no matter what. That´s hard not to be impressed by, although a few more hooks and catchy moments probably could have made "Breeding the Spawn" a slightly more accessible release. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.