Pierced From Within
An essential album from the history of death metal
What does one write about an album such as Pierced From Within? Is there anything that hasn't already been said, and would I be doing the album a disservice by trying to capture its essence into words? In light of the fact that Suffocation are only now gracing our fair shores for the first time in their career it seems fitting that I attempt to cover one of their seminal albums.
Every time I hear this album I am astounded at how good it sounds, even 12 years after its original release. Suffocation surely brought a unique sound and approach to the death metal scene and though many bands have tried, no one has been able to fully capture the sound and the feel that this band possesses.
The feel of this album is one of its biggest draw cards. The band aren't simply content to chug away at their instruments as can often be the case. Every song is spattered with rhythmic experimentation and change-ups that bring with them a lot of life and longevity. A large amount of the credit must go to drummer Doug Bohn for his equally interesting and inventive patterns.
Though the album isn't particularly fast paced, it is full of ever changing riffs and tempo changes and is a prime example of how technical death metal should be done. Even with its extremely technical nature it somehow manages to make itself accessible from the first listen. This is more than likely due to the overall feel on the album that I mentioned earlier. It isn't quite a groove, but it has the same sort of effect.
The final piece to this puzzle is the production which is absolutely spot on. It is dense and heavy yet allows everything to make its way to the surface without being muddied. Even though all instruments end up sounding great it is the guitars and the drums that get the most from the production. Both instruments take on a pounding, bassy element that jumps straight out and hits you right in the chest.
It isn't too much of a stretch to state that Pierced From Within has served as the inspiration for many of the technical death albums that we all enjoy today. This hasn't happened by chance. Pierced From Within simply is one of the best technical death metal albums of all time.
(Roadrunner Records/Shock Records)