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SUFFOCATION - Pierced From Within cover
4.00 | 25 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1995


1. Pierced From Within (4:26)
2. Thrones of Blood (5:14)
3. Depths of Depravity (5:33)
4. Suspended in Tribulation (6:30)
5. Torn Into Enthrallment (5:26)
6. The Invoking (4:36)
7. Synthetically Revived (3:53)
8. Brood of Hatred (4:35)
9. Breeding the Spawn (5:09)

Total Time: 45:26


- Doug Bohn / Drums
- Doug Cerrito / Guitar
- Terrance Hobbs / Guitar
- Chris Richards / Bass
- Frank Mullen / Vocals

About this release

Full-length, Roadrunner Records, May 23rd, 1995

Produced by Scott Burns & SUFFOCATION
Engineered and Mixed by Scott Burns
Assistant Engineers: Steve Heritage & Dave Welner
Recorded and Mixed at Morrisound Recording Tampa FL USA
Mastered by Mike Fuller at Fullersound Miami FL USA
Cover Art: Hiro Takahashi

Thanks to UMUR for the updates


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"Suffocation" is, in and of itself, a great name for a death metal band - because not only does it suggest death, but it suggests a really horrible death, a frantic struggle for breath which is denied to you, a method of killing which doesn't even break the skin and yet is terrible to imagine experiencing nonetheless.

Apt, then, that Suffocation's Pierced From Within should have such an absolutely smothering sound, unleashing brutal attack after brutal attack against the listener without giving you room to breathe. This can be off-putting if you aren't in the right mood for the soul-shattering brutal death assault of your life, but for when you want to be sonically beaten into a pulp for 45 minutes, it really hits the spot.
"Pierced from Within" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US, New York based death metal act Suffocation. The album was released through Roadrunner Records in May 1995. The receptions from fans and critics alike, regarding the band´s 2nd full-length studio album "Breeding the Spawn (1993)", generally weren´t that positive, mainly due to what many consider a weak sounding production. Roadrunner Records refused to pay for studio time in Morrisound Studios with producer Scott Burns (which was the band´s primary choice), and as a result there was a lot of turmoil surrounding the recording of that album. Turmoil that is reported to be one of the main reasons why drummer Mike Smith left Suffocation shortly after the release of "Breeding the Spawn (1993)".

In a strange turn of events Roadrunner Records allowed Suffocation to record "Pierced from Within" at Morrisound Studios with producer Scott Burns (although at the time the label were in the process of effecively getting rid of all their death metal artists), which resulted in one of the better death metal productions to come out of Morrisound Studios. The sound is thick, dark, and brutal yet all instruments are easily heard in the mix. It´s not often you notice the bass on death metal albums but here it is just right in the mix and you can clearly hear it.

The music on the album is brutal and technically well played death metal. The vocals are extremely brutal growling, but as it was also the case on "Breeding the Spawn (1993)", you´re actually able to catch words and phrases which make the vocal part of the album very effective. There are some really impressive precision playing on the album too and the tracks vary in pace between fast- to blasting- to brick heavy breakdowns. New drummer Doug Bohn is a competent and quite accomplished replacement for Mike Smith. The tracks are high quality death metal compositions and although not all tracks are easily accessible or instantly memorable, repeated listens reveal both hooks and infectiously catchy rhythms. There´s still next to no melodic content in the music though, so the hooks take time to discover. The tracks are quirky with lots of short breaks, 1-2 second blast beat parts (sometimes even shorter ones within riffs) and loads of tempo changes in every track. It never sounds forced though and there´s always the greater purpose in sight of creating relentlessly brutal and energetic music. Highlights include the opening title track, "Synthetically Revived", "Thrones of Blood", and the re-recording of the title track from "Breeding the Spawn (1993)" which closes "Pierced From Within". All material on the album is consistent in both style and quality though, and I could have picked almost any of the tracks featured on the album and called it a highlight.

So upon conclusion "Pierced from Within" is a high quality death metal album by Suffocation, which shows a more mature band that have honed their craft and now pack enough energy to tilt an elephant, but at the same time make your intellect work. The perfect marriage between relentless brutal energy and technical playing. It´s not that the band have changed their core sound much or that they´ve developed dramatically, but they´ve taken it up a notch here and a 4.5 star (90%) rating is fully deserved.
Vim Fuego
There are some bands which are supposedly above criticism. In the realm of classic rock, Led Zeppelin is beyond reproach, in black metal it's Darkthrone, and grindcore has classic Carcass. There is a band in brutal death metal circles spoken of with the same reverence by a majority of fans of the genre- Suffocation. The story goes if you don't like this band, then you don't really like brutal death metal.

All the ingredients for a good sound are there. Suffocation are undeniably brutal. All the musicians involved in the band have always been highly technically proficient. Their sound has never been anything but utterly crushing and extreme. Somehow, it still doesn't work.

So you slip this album on, and within seconds the deathly bludgeoning of the title track begins. Suffocation create huge walls of deathly noise, while vocalist Frank Mullen vomits forth a tale of unimaginable gore and violence. The sound is incredibly tight and precise, able to stop on a pinhead, before exploding forth like a pack of pneumatic drills set on kill.

And then onto "Thrones Of Blood". The band create huge walls of deathly noise, while vocalist Frank Mullen vomits forth a tale of unimaginable gore and violence. The sound is incredibly tight and precise, able to stop on a pinhead, before exploding forth like a pack of pneumatic drills set on kill.

And then to "Depths Of Depravity". The band create huge walls of deathly noise, while vocalist Frank Mullen vomits forth a tale of unimaginable... Hang on, it's not so unimaginable now. This is the third time in a row the same turgid riffs, the same rhythms, the same damn song has appeared.

Yes, Suffocation are brutal, extreme, heavy, or whatever else you want to call them. However, they utterly suck at writing songs which are actually distinguishable from one another. Brutal death metal is an extremely restrictive genre. As one of the originators of the sound, Suffocation are responsible for setting many of the boundaries of the genre, but here seem content to sit in the middle of them without pushing anything. Even on a first listen, this is utterly predictable. It is possible to sit through a song and say to yourself "OK, the vocals are going to start here, the double kick drums are going to start here, and everything is going to stop then restart right here", and it happens.

This album seems sterile and uninventive. There is little to offer which has not been done before. Do yourself a favour and avoid.
Time Signature
Thrones of metal...

Genre: brutal death metal

After the badly produced and disappointing sophomore album "Breeding the Spawn", Suffocation strike back with one of the best brutal death metal releases of the 1990s.

Like most of Suffocation's other albums (ignoring "Breeding the Spawn), "Pierced from Within" is, in many ways, the epitome of the perfect brutal death metal album with its American-style blast beats and quite dynamically structured musical compositions, which contain several technical and challenging riffs and numerous changes in time and tempo.

The only thing that I am not too keen on here is the vocals, which I think are too monotonous, but that is a common problem I have with the growled vocals of the death metal of the 90s.

In all, this is one of those important death metal releases that belong in any self-respecting extreme metal fan's record collection.

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