Blood Oath

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Band Name Suffocation (USA)
Album Name Blood Oath
Type Album
Released date 03 July 2009
Produced by Joe Cincotta
Recorded at Full Force Studio
Music StyleTechnical Death
Members owning this album207

Tracklist

1. Blood Oath 03:54
2. Dismal Dream 03:16
3. Pray for Forgiveness 03:39
4. Images of Purgatory 03:26
5. Cataclysmic Purification 04:53
6. Mental Hemorrhage 03:54
7. Come Hell or High Priest 04:06
8. Undeserving 04:09
9. Provoking the Disturbed 05:17
10. Marital Decimation 04:17
Bonustracks (European & US Releases)
11. Pray for Forgiveness (Rough Mix Un-Mastered) 03:40
12. Dismal Dream (Instrumental Version) 03:16
Bonustracks (Russian Release)
11. Pray for Forgiveness (Rough Mix Un-Mastered) 03:40
12. Dismal Dream (Instrumental Version) 03:18
13. Blood Oath (Instrumental Version) 03:57
14. Cataclysmic Purification (Rough Mix) 04:55
Total playing time 40:51

Review @ GandhiEgo

03 June 2009
So far, so good. Suffocation have always achieved to maintain their cult status. After a temporary split in 1998 right after the release of the good Despise the Sun MCD, Frank Mullen’s crew had come back with the honorable Souls to Deny in 2004. Releases from the New-Yorkers had therefore crossed two decades almost effortlessly, even making their point furthermore with their formidable eponymous album (one of 2006's best Death Metal releases) that they were still on top of Death Metal food chain together with Krisiun, Nile and Hate Eternal.

Thus, everyone was indulging in the thought that Suffocation was the kind of band that could never ever release a so-so album. In addition to this, it seems the band had crossed yet another threshold in their career by dropping original Relapse in favor of the even bigger German Nuclear Blast. As if it were not enough, the superb crimson cover of Blood Oath (2009) was enough to let us think that once more the originators of the Brutal and Technical Death Metal genre were going to deliver inspired and ultra-powerful compositions as usual.

The track Blood Oath actually starts off with a very fast double pedal blast reminiscent of Hate Eternal. As for the rest, Suffocation’s style and riffing are recognizable at first listen with guitar parts precise and relatively complex, a snapping bass brilliantly complementing the drums, the powerful and clear production just like in their previous release and obviously the outstanding growls of Sir Mullen. Dismal Dream is ideally positioned as the second track to definitely propel the album, throwing off a terrible break followed right after by a downpour of crushing rhythmic parts from the Marchais / Hobbs pair. The heaviness and the energy developed on this track could certainly not fear the comparison between the two previous albums.

But then, only after a few tracks, a slight feeling of déjà-vu starts to appear. It’s not that the songs are bad. Images of Purgatory will unleash some heavy firepower when it comes down to guitars (be it rhythm or lead parts) or Undeserving that combines both stops/accelerations with formidable precision and even some dissonant riffs which had never been to this day a Suffocation trademark.
Still, for instance a track like Cataclysmic Purification seems to have been played countless times on Suffocation’s other releases and even though it would probably be the perfect song to be played live, it still feels repetitive.
It's quite certain that Terrance Hobbs and his minions have just composed tracks the way they've always done without giving it too much thinking. Obviously even an 80% Suffocation would still bury 6 feet under most of their young counterparts, and a track like Mental Hemorrhage would teach most a thing or two when it comes to power with Frank Mullen showing the range of his extraordinarily guttural and deep growling. However some things will last: Marital Decimation, an old track from Breeding the Spawn (something the NY Deathsters like to recreate on each and every album), is one of the most incisive tracks from this album…

Is Blood Oath a mediocre record? Is it the beginning of the end? I certainly don’t think so, but when a band generates such great expectations, you can’t escape a feeling of disappointment when you can’t release some monstrous record. Suffocation simply did not transcend themselves, faring effortlessly at cruising speed. If one would dare such a comparison, let’s just say that Effigy of the Forgotten and Pierced from Within were speeding like a 120 mph rocket, that eponymous Suffocation was still above 100 mph, but with this record they’re just keeping it over 80 mph with cruise control on... Still let’s not worry too much, Frank Mullen and co are still not the kind of drivers that take secondary roads like Obituary or byroads like Six Feet Under

Though it probably will not go down in history, Blood Oath is adding up to the already quite big list of good Death Metal releases from 2009 and will enable the fans (and believe me I know what I’m talking about) to spend some real quality time. Perhaps Suffocation will cross yet again another threshold of recognition with the help of Nuclear Blast’s huge distribution potential should they deem the band one of their top priorities (but that’s a whole another story…).

Let’s take the bet that the next release will be a legendary one and will rest together with Effigy of the Forgottent and Pierced from Within


This is not my own review. It's merely a translation of BEERGRINDER's review originally written in French and translated into English with his consent. For the original review in French, please go to: http://www.spirit-of-metal.com/album-groupe-Suffocation-nom_album-Blood_Oath-l-fr.html

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Comment @ Scandals

19 August 2009
Suffocation are almost the Motorhead of death metal. You know what
you’re going to get with them; relentless, brutal death with enough
technical moments to sway most of the guitar-wank fans out there but
never losing the slam. They’re an institution in New York death metal,
and have created genre defining albums for the past 19 years. While
Blood Oath’ is not on the same level as ‘Effigy of the Forgotten’ or
‘Pierced from Within’, it shows the band still has what it takes to
create great death metal albums.
Now ‘Blood Oath’ leads on from the band’s self titled album full of
razor sharp riffs that are heavy as fuck and yet still retains slightly
melodic edges. Technically the riffing is complex enough without moving
into Cryptopsy territory, which can become overbearing sometimes. The
tracks are also of a slower pace, chugging their way through the
competition like a bulldozer through twigs. For me, I prefer death
metal that is slower, it possesses a much more foreboding atmosphere
and a much more powerful sound, but I know some fans of Suffocation
have complained about the lack of pace in this new album. I ask them to
listen to the title track and just give into that first riff, it
reminds me of Bolt Thrower’s ‘World Eater’; crushingly heavy, made more
so by its slower pacing.
Vocally the album is excellent, Frank Mullen becoming easily
coherent to the trained ear, and even newer fans to death metal can
understand his roars about paranoia and insanity. The production is
nice and powerful, lending extra weight to this devastating vehicle of
death, and its yet another triumph for old school death metal bands
this year.
It’s nice to see Suffocation still being able to produce such
excellent albums two decades into their illustrious careers, and it
displays that no matter how hard the new bands try, there’s rarely any
substitute for the originals. Classic and heavy as hell, ‘Blood Oath
is a triumphant continuation of Suffocation’s legacy.

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