(Next month Suppression will release their debut album via Unspeakable Axe Records (with vinyl coming later from Dark Descent), mixed and mastered by Colin Marston and adorned with artwork by Paolo Girardi, and today we present Todd Manning‘s enthusiastic review.)
It’s hard to say what’s going on down in Chile, but there’s some killer metal emerging from there. Ripper seems to have been spearheading the movement in recent years with their brand of technical death-thrash, and now some of those members appear in Suppression, whose debut full-length, The Sorrow of Soul through Flesh, drops on April 25th courtesy of Unspeakable Axe Records.
While Ripper marries old school Kreator vibes with technical brutality in the vein of Atheist and Sadus, Suppression feels like a love letter to old school Floridian death metal. However, they sidestep many of the obvious choices of influence in favor of other no-less-deserving bands.
Monstrosity’s underrated debut Imperial Doom springs to mind almost immediately. Both know their way around a blast beat, but settle into high-tempo thrash attacks much of the time. Suppression’s opener “Lifelessness” shows they are probably the more technical of the two, and mid-way through they even drop into a short, head-bobbing groove that could also nod in the direction of under-appreciated Floridians Resurrection. Suppression, though, utilize guitar solos that sound like they came from the ghost of Chuck Schuldiner himself.
Other influences rear their head as well. Second track “Overfeeding Gaps” splits the difference between the first two Gorguts albums while all eras of Death are well-represented throughout the album. The acoustic breaks in “Unwinding Harmonies” and the acoustic interlude “Arrowheads” bring to mind Metallica’s “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” and Morbid Angel’s “Desolate Ways”, respectively. And album closer “Extortion Behaviors” seems slightly indebted to classic Malevolent Creation.
And one can’t miss the chance to mention the fretless bass work of Pablo Cortés. His contribution is central here, and also with Ripper. He plays with the technical abandon of this generation’s Steve DiGiorgio, an ever present complement to the guitars. And he avoids the pitfalls of some fretless metal bassists — his tone is always muscular and doesn’t detract from the overall heaviness.
But for all the talk of influences, Suppression ultimately construct an album that is their own. They have created a sum greater than its individual parts. It is brutal yet technical, ripping yet atmospheric. They are students of their genre but easily stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best. The most complex moments never sound forced but serve the songs. It’s just a killer death metal album from start to finish. Ripper’s Experiment of Existence floored me to an equal degree when it came out in 2016. It makes me wonder what else I am missing from the Chilean metal scene. (Feel free to drop suggestions in the comments.)