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3.85 | 18 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1991


1. Liege of Inveracity (3:49)
2. Effigy of the Forgotten (3:50)
3. Infecting the Crypts (4:49)
4. Seeds of the Suffering (5:52)
5. Habitual Infamy (4:16)
6. Reincremation (2:54)
7. Mass Obliteration (4:32)
8. Involuntary Slaughter (3:02)
9. Jesus Wept (3:41)

Total Time: 36:50


- Frank Mullen / Vocals
- Terrance Hobbs / Guitar
- Doug Cerrito / Guitar
- Josh Barohn / Bass
- Mike Smith / Drums

About this release

Full-length, Roadrunner Records, October 22nd, 1991

Produced, Engineered & Mixed By Scott Burns
Mastered By Eddy Schreyer

Album re-released in 2003 as a split with "Pierced From Within".

Thanks to UMUR for the updates


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Warner 1992
$10.25 (used)
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Roadrunner Records 2003
$75.00 (used)
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Specialists/collaborators reviews

"Effigy of the Forgotten" is the debut full-length studio album by US, New York based death metal act Suffocation. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in October 1991. Suffocation was formed in 1988 and the "Human Waste (1991)" EP, which preceeds "Effigy of the Forgotten", was released in May 1991. There´s no arguing the EP showed great promise, but it was on "Effigy of the Forgotten" that Suffocation unleashed their full arsenal.

Graced with a time-typical Dan Seagrave cover artwork, and one of the better early 90s Scott Burns credited sound productions, to come out of Morrisound Studios, "Effigy of the Forgotten" is in many ways the arch typical US death metal album from the early 90s. The sound production is ultra heavy and brutal, yet clear enough for all details to be heard, the musicianship is on a high technical level, and the songwriting is inspired too.

The material is not easily accessible as it´s relentlessly brutal and there are very few hooks and next to no melody to hold on to. Instead Suffocation focus on sharp riffs, tempo changes (anything from ultra heavy breakdowns to fast blasting parts), breaks, and sub woofer deep unintelligible growling vocals. This is about as "death metal" as death metal comes. There´s not a second of compromise throughout the album. One of the features which sets Suffocation apart from many of their contemporaries are their brutal grooves and breakdowns, which are probably inspired by them growing up in the hardcore temple of New York. So while this is first and foremost brutal technical death metal there are still lots of groove to be found in the material. Which is probably why quite a few deathcore acts mention Suffocation as a major influence. They were simply one of the first death metal bands to incorporate hardcore influenced grooves to their music. Leaders and pioneers.

When all the positives have been accounted for, it´s hard not to notice that the material is bit one-dimensional and that the tracks are hard to tell apart, even after repeated listens, and that is a minor issue, although it´s to be expected with music as brutal as this. Given enough spins the tracks do begin to stand out a bit more and there are several of the tracks which today are considered Suffocation "classics". Tracks the band play regularly when they perform live. "Infecting the Crypts" (with it´s infectiously brutal groove) is probably the most well known, but tracks like "Mass Obliteration", "Liege of Inveracity", and the title track have also often appeared on the band´s setlists.

So upon conclusion "Effigy of the Forgotten" is a high quality US death metal release from the golden year of 1991. It took death metal to another level of brutality and it´s one of the seminal albums in the most brutal end of the death metal scale. To my ears it´s not without flaws though and especially the songwriting could have been a bit more varied. The unintelligible growling vocals could also have prospered from being slightly more intelligible. They would have made more impact if the listener at least occasionally could have catched a phrase or two (something which changed on subsequent releases), but Suffocation went all in on this one, trying to create the ultimate brutal death metal album released at that point. If that was their intention they succeeded well. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
Time Signature
Habitual infamy...

Genre: brutal death metal

This is perhaps one of the strongest debut releases in the history of death metal and certainly not just an influential, but also a seminal release in the subgenre of brutal death metal.

The epitome of brutal death metal, "Effigy of the Forgotten" contains nothing but 'evil' killer tracks which are actually very dynamically structured, and very demanding to play, as the level of technicality requires a very high level of musicianship. This is one of those releases that were referred to back in the day by metalheads who were trying to defend their beloved death metal music was criticized by ignorant mainstream dumbasses, who claimed that it wasn't music and that anyone could create such pointless nose. If anything, this album certainly shows that death metal can require a very high level of musicianship to pull off (but, unfortunately, very few of the mainstream dumbasses bought the argument, because they were totally ignorant about music anyway). All tracks contain numerous riffs and are complex in structure, and this album contains many of my favorite Suffocation tracks, including "Infecting the Crypts" and "Mass Obliteration".

My only problem is the monotonous growling vocals which detracts from the otherwise very positive experience of listening to the album a bit.

This is an absolute must have if you are a fan of death metal.
The Angry Scotsman
One of the more influential albums in death metal.

Sadly, it was an influence on a style I'm not really a fan of.

This album was perhaps THE influence on technical death metal, as we know it today. Not the tech death of the early 90's which was more progressive in nature with jazzy drumming, and even song structure (which is the tech death that I love!). This album is uncompromisingly, unrelentingly brutal.

This album is built around a very low register guitar sound. Seriously, this production is indeed brutal. Outside of solos it never leaves a bottom strong, first 4 fret sound.

Mullen's vocals even more brutal, belted in a horrifyingly low fashion. This was quite a departure as most death metal vocalists were in the vein of Chuck Schuldiner (the "zombie" sound as I call it) or a raspy sound. The vocals on this album are purely guttural. It's really not my favorite style, and one I can only take in small doses. For me, it's a knock on the album since they almost sound comical at times. The best way I can describe them is the cookie monster belching. Maybe after a night of heavy drinking.

The music itself takes a bit of patience. Due to its very low register production it can be difficult to hear any variation at all. Also there seems to be no distinction between the guitars giving the riffing a heavy amorphous blob sound. However, the music is really something.

Once your ears have given it a listen or two, the riffing is pretty technical actually. The riffing is also changing constantly, sometimes abruptly with classic death metal stops, and sometimes smoothly. When one really listens you may be surprised how often it is changing.

The songs all sound the same pretty much. Almost all have some short solo guitar or drum break followed by blast beats. Their are a few quick breaks in every song, (sometimes a total pause, sometimes a drum fill) there are faster sections, more mid paced, some pretty groovy ones and bouts of grindcore. Often all in one song, on every song. Throw in some shreddy solo's of course. Almost entirely blast beat drumming, with some double bass breaks from time to time.

In a way this album this a purer form of death metal. While surprisingly technical, it stems directly from brutal, unrelenting death metal. Opposed to the more progressive and melodic styles to emerge during the early and mid 90's.

So, this is an alright album. The music is simply a bit much. Always been my problem with these tech death bands of today, though at least today you can hear the musicianship better. The vocals are a bit laughable, (coming from a death metal fan I know). If you are a fan of straight up death metal, I am sure you will like this album. That may be it though.

Two Stars

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