SUFFOCATION — The Close of a Chapter (review)

SUFFOCATION — The Close of a Chapter album cover Live album · 2006 · Brutal Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
"The Close of a Chapter" is a live album release by US, New York based death metal act Suffocation. The album was originally independently released in 2005 limited to 50 CD copies and the digital download option, but Relapse Records picked it up for a label release in late 2009. The 13 tracks on the 64:05 minutes long album is the full unedited performance of the band´s Quebec City show on the 2005 tour supporting their 2004 comeback album "Souls To Deny".

To those not familar with Suffocation they are one of the originators of brutal and technically well played death metal. Predominantly unintelligible growling vocals, massive meaty riffs and chaotic screaming solos, and a rhythm section delivering loads of tempo changes, breaks and ultra heavy breakdowns, and generally just impressive technical playing. That´s what Suffocation has been about since day one, and that´s what they are about on this live album too.

The tracklist includes songs from all four studio albums released up until then and from both the "Human Waste (1991)" EP and the "Despise the Sun (1998)" EP, so it´s arguably a good representation of Suffocation´s discography up until 2005. Classic tracks like "Infecting the Crypts", "Catatonia", "Pierced From Within", and "Breeding the Spawn", along side tracks from "Souls To Deny (2004)", which at the time was the latest studio album by the band. There is good audience interaction between the tracks as lead vocalist Frank Mullen makes sure to tell the audience how happy Suffocation are to play for them. He also encourages moshpits, and just genereally keeps the show flowing all the way through. Anyone who´s seen Frank "The Hand" Mullen live knows what a great and passionate character he is, and it´s apparent here too.

It´s not only an unedited performance but also what sounds like a raw and more or less unedited sound production. I wouldn´t call it lo-fi, but it is pretty unpolished and not always clear sounding. So you get a pretty good idea of how a Suffocation show sounds like in real life. Warts and all. The thing is though the musical performances are pretty much flawless. Suffocation have always been an extremely well playing act and their performances here are "just another day at the office" in that respect. Upon conclusion I´d say that the sound quality could have been slightly better, but overall "The Close of a Chapter" is a solid and authentic sounding live album by Suffocation and a 3.5 star (70%) rating isn´t all wrong.
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