"Souls to Deny" is the 4th full-length studio album by US death metal act Suffocation. The album was released through Relapse Records in April 2004. It´s the band´s first studio recording since the "Despise the Sun" EP from 1998. Suffocation disbanded shortly after the release of "Despise the Sun (1998)", so "Souls to Deny" is what you can call a comeback album. Since the release of "Despise the Sun (1998)", original drummer Mike Smith has returned to the fold replacing Dave Culross, and guitarist Guy Marchais replaces Doug Cerrito. Bassist Chris Richards has not been replaced and the bass on the album is therefore handled by Mike Smith and guitarist Terrance Hobbs. The vocals are as usual delivered by Frank Mullen.
Not much have changed while the band have had their break and if you´re familiar with the band´s previous releases and in particular "Pierced From Within (1995)" and "Despise the Sun (1998)", you´ll pretty much know what to expect from "Souls to Deny". The music on the album more or less continues the trademark technical brutal death metal style that Suffocation have practiced since day one. The technical level of playing is very high with multible tempo changes, breaks, and generally just fast as hell instrumental work. Of course as usual the band don´t neglect to crush their listeners with some ultra heavy breakdowns and mid-paced brutal grooves, so the music isn´t one-dimensionally fast-paced all the time. In fact the tracks are pretty complex in structure.
The complexity is exemplified well by a track like "Immortally Condemned", which features both mid- to fast paced death metal grooves, fast blasting sections, and ultra heavy breakdowns played over the course of the multible sections featured in the track. Along with the title track and "Deceit" (which is strangely melodically oriented compared to the band´s usual sound), "Immortally Condemned" is one of the highlights of the album. One of the assets of "Souls to Deny" is the remarkable consistency and quality of the material though, so I could name any track off the album and call it high quality US death metal.
The fact that the sound production is powerful, crushingly brutal, and heavy, and that the brutal growling vocals by Frank Mullen add even more dark brutality to the album, are also assets that deserve a mention. This is the sound of a band who know exactly what their strengths are, who are confident in themselves, and who are capable of making the most of those strengths. Suffocation once again prove that they are kings of the technical brutal death metal style and "Souls to Deny" fully deserves a 4 star (80%) rating.