SEPIROTH – Condemned To Suffer
The album opens like an Aborted record and, indeed, much of the faster, grinding material recalls the Belgian stylings. The first track proper, "Embedded Defects", is one of the best ones on the album, Suffocationary riffs on top off Nico’s Morbid Angelic David Justin "Evil D" Vincent vocals and matching muscular rhythms and rightaway abundantly showcases the more melodic side, harmonies recalling "Prove You Wrong" Prong. While it isn’t the heaviest track of the 8 presented on "Condemned To Suffer" (in addition to the intro and a small instrumental interlude reminiscent of Fear Factory’s "Invisible Wounds (Dark Bodies)") already the sound is massive, panzer meaty riffs hitting your eardrums like Sherman and Tiger tanks fighting for primacy. Nowhere is that more palpable as on the fantastic Panteric "Six Times A Charm", which also brings Deeds Of Flesh, Dying Fetus or Misery Index to mind, and, again, that Prongy melodiscism here, however juxtaposed against some also melodic Swedeath a’la Grave or Dismember.
But it’s the second half that is more interesting, varied and impactful with not an unexcellent song in sight. Moreover, the melodic and catchy parts get more pronounced, for instance, on "Selective Apocalypse" where I can hear "Spiritual Healing" Death or the following "Pulmarary Barotrama" with clearly latter Death guitarwork. The closer, "River Of Perdition", is more groovy and heavier as well as slightly progressive as if to signal the more progressive direction on the follow up.
While none of the tracks are disappointing and "Condemned…", at just over 34 minutes length is just right taken in one sitting, some tracks could have used more of that melody such as the most vicious and fastest, "Agonizing Subjection" which combines old Machine Head and Krisiunic stylings for the most devastating effect but can be quite challenging to take in even at its 4 minutes. Or take the title track, Ulcerate, Suffocation lightly tapered off by Dyscarnate-like melody which feels too little and too rare.
"Condemned To Suffer" is a very good record from a very tight and dedicated ensemble of musicians with no one slacking off plus the production could serve as example to more known and established bands (Suffocation). Every single application of this death metal juggernaut was pleasant but I feel that Sepiroth, even on its third album, is still evolving into something simultaneously more beastly and melodically refined. In fact, I’ll drink to that.