SUFFERING HOUR — In Passing Ascension (review)

SUFFERING HOUR — In Passing Ascension album cover Album · 2017 · Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
Out of all the styles of metal that have evolved over the decades it seems that the death and black metal camps have become the most productive with countless new bands crafting new methodologies of creativity infused with elements of outlying musical genres and hitherto unexplored hybridization. While war metal began all the way back with Blasphemy in the early 90s which basically mixed the aggressive fury of old school death metal with the atmospheric mindfuckery of black metal, the two have proven time and time again to make a compelling dynamic duo of torturous metallic fury and with myriad modern record labels ranging from Dark Descent to Blood Harvest cranking out the legions of new acts.

SUFFERING HOUR is among the newer bands in this current wave of blackened death metal that borrows the immediacy of classic Morbid Angel with the angular dissonance that jars the senses a la Incantation and adds elements of atmospheric doom and gloom right out of the black metal realms along with moments of pseudo-progressiveness with off-kilter time signature deviations, extended playing times and an overall focus on an album’s run experience over the strength of any particular track. This band that consists of Dylan Haseltine (vocals, bass), Josh Raiken (guitar, vocals) and Jason Oberuc (drums, vocals) was formed in the Minneapolis suburb of Forest Lake and IN PASSING ASCENSION is the debut which emerged in 2017.

Talk about a gluttony of excess! It seems that so many bands are so talented these days that it’s really hard to keep up with it all and SUFFERING HOUR is just one more band to craft exquisitely designed musical dread in the form of blackened death metal which ticks off all the boxes in the proper proportions. For this kind of music it’s almost mandatory to create a short introductory mood setting intro in this case the opening “Insufferable Scorn” which immediately yanks your consciousness out of the benevolence of sanity and plunges it deep into the dark recesses of a hellish soundscape dominated by atonal doomy guitar riffs, murky atmospheric frightfulness and slinking rhythmic cadences.

After the proper tone has been set the first fully fueled metal track “For The Putridity Of Man” cranks things up a few notches and goes for the death metal gusto with fully fueled chugga chug action and freewheeling frenzies of dissonant sound clusters bantering the senses with high octane intensity. While true that what SUFFERING HOUR performs here may not be exactly groundbreaking at this stage in the metal timeline, where the band succeeds brilliantly is in crafting an album’s worth of aggressive modern blackened death metal that allows enough diverse elements to keep the album from hitting any brick walls. “The Abrasive Black Dust” for example perfectly punctuates the muddled murky madness with an occulted melody of sorts that is dressed up with delightfully designed riffing motifs that oscillate like swells from the sea with the proper amount of distorted feedback bleeding into every nook and cranny culminating in the album’s highlight, the near 9-minute monster “Procession To Obscure Infinity.”

Ugly is certainly the new beautiful in the world of unhinged brutality in the world of modern day death metal and in the case of SUFFERING HOUR is met with an arsenal of creative tricks and trinkets that are intelligently designed to enhance the whole shebang rather than derail. The band mastered the art of balance on IN PASSING ASCENSION and eschewed the pitfalls of adding filler simply for the sake of making a longer playing time. There’s something about the classic playing time of around 40 minutes that is in the human psyche and by sticking to this principle, the overbearing intensity of the album resonates rather than enervates. Add to that the extraordinary musicianship of this trio and it’s no wonder by SUFFERING HOUR received so many plaudits from the world of the underground metal scene when this was released. This is recommended to those who love those dissonant spidery guitar workouts in the vein of Deathspell Omega, Ad Nauseum, Gorguts and similarly minded techy black death.
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