"Suffocation" is the self-titled 5th full-length studio album (and the 2nd album since their comeback with "Souls to Deny (2004)") by US death metal act Suffocation. The album was released through Relapse Records in September 2006. The live album "The Close of a Chapter (2005)" was released in between "Souls to Deny (2004)" and this album. There´s been one lineup change since "Souls to Deny (2004)" as bassist Derek Boyer has joined Suffocation on a permanent basis.
The band have chosen to produce the album themselves (with the help of engineer/mixer Joe Cincotta) which has resulted in a slightly less brutal sound compared to "Souls to Deny (2004)". Of course Suffocation have always belonged to the most brutal part of the death metal genre, so even though the sound on this album is slightly less brutal than on the predecessor, the general sound of the music hasn´t changed much. Technically well played brutal death metal designed to maim and kill. Frank Mullen still sounds like he has just risen from the grave with his commanding deep growls and the instrumental part of the music is as usual delivered with militant precision and attention to detail (breaks, tempo changes...etc.).
Variation is a word seldom used when describing a Suffocation album and the same applies here. The tracks are pretty hard to tell apart even after many spins, but patience is rewarded, and details and memorable hooks begin to appear (an intelligible phrase here and a catchy rhythm pattern there). Personally I adore the old school sound of a track like "Entrails of You" but there are several other great tracks on the album (The two video tracks "Abomination Reborn" and "Bind Torture Kill" are also among the highlights), and the quality of the material is generally very high. Once again the band have re-recorded a track from "Breeding the Spawn (1993)" in "Prelude to Repulsion". The Japanese version of the album features another re-recording from "Breeding the Spawn (1993)" in the bonus track "Anomalistic Offerings".
So upon conclusion "Suffocation" is another high quality death metal album by the band. Brutal compositions, high level musicianship, and a well sounding and powerful production which sets the album apart from the other releases in their discography. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.