Extreme Heavy Metal Reviews

Gruesome Brutal Darkness - "Effigy of the Forgotten" Review (95%)

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Effigy of the Forgotten
Effigy of the Forgotten by Suffocation.

There is an impenitent aura of darkness surrounding Suffocation like a nimbus of blackened horror.

Raining down with the impious void of "Effigy of the Forgotten", their debut album, Suffocation cement their place as death metal's darkest legends.

Suffocation, like Incantation, Warkvlt and Beherit, is a slice of blackened death metal's soul - the annihilating force driven by the urge to raid, pillage and destroy all in the name of darkness and oblivion.

Following the path blazed by Suffocation's debut of ferocious death metal hymns of desecration, many different styles of death metal would spawn from all over the world, attempting to recreate, expand or at least contribute to the horrors first unleashed with "Effigy of the Forgotten".

This album is dark, evil, primitive and unrelentingly atrocious. A massive, deathly discharge spewing from the atonal carnage of violence that imbues Suffocation's music contributes to the tomblike orgy soaked in an assortment of bodily fluids best left unknown. A total depravity of anti-music desecration.

No matter how demonic the music on "Effigy of the Forgotten" is in and of itself, there is no reviewing this masterpiece without discussing the unbelievable influence Suffocation's debut had on both black metal and death metal music. What do legendary extreme metal albums such as "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas", "Withdrawal", "Fallen From the Brightest Throne", "Pure Holocaust" and "In the Nightside Eclipse" all share in common?

That's right, they were influenced by "Effigy of the Forgotten".


Gruesome Brutal Darkness


Just the total sound of how Suffocation constructs these songs on "Effigy of the Forgotten" puts a satanic smile on my face.

On the surface, it seems Suffocation's riffs and rhythm section patterns seldom deviate from the primitive, simple riffs almost always followed by brutish blast beats sticking either to a frenzy of speed or a war metal style mid-tempo, rhythmic drone of explosions. The truth is, though, there are staggering amounts of care and variation placed in this album's bestial rampage of demonic madness.

The first part of the album, especially, takes after the mid-tempo form of percussion, matched by Verminlust type riffs which are more gradual, atmospheric and in no hurry to erupt. "Infecting the Crypts" drops the speed down to its lower gear, lurching on Suffocation's doom-laden structure like a stalker in the night. We know what we're getting next... "Seeds of the Suffering" is Suffocation at its darkest. The excellent riffs never end, and the intensity refuses to relent even as the speed is halved for an atmospheric bridge-like break.

The second half of the album, marked conveniently by the shorter "Reincremation", quickens up the tempo. The ravaging massacre of "Mass Obliteration" and "Involuntary Slaughter" are caught in a frenzy of blasting madness and black metal riffs - yes, black metal - hammering down like Satan's fist in the throat of every poser that ever listened to post-Hoffman Deicide or Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation's talentless imitators.

The way the band is able to mix a bestial, primal atmosphere with riffs, percussion patterns, and vocals all doing their part to convey the ruthless message of Suffocation demonic possession is superb and worthy of the utmost praise. There are as few bands this flagrantly heavy as there are weak copycats that clone the style without the substance of Suffocation's madness, and I'm sure "Effigy of the Forgotten" will have no trouble using the power of Suffocation's authentic brand of punishment to convey the memo of their hour of doom approaching.

"Effigy of the Forgotten" is probably the best snapshot of Suffocation and brutal blackened death metal on a comprehensive level. The variance between the more atmospheric and black metal parts when contrasted with the more gruesome, intense and violent death metal parts exposes radical shifts in songwriting schemes, which, though not visible to the uninitiated, can nonetheless be experienced as a fog of pure, demonic darkness covering all but the most depraved souls.

Every factor that makes extreme metal enjoyable is improved and more extreme than ever, and it is my pleasure to call "Effigy of the Forgotten" a total masterpiece of brutal darkness.

Effigy of the Forgotten score: 95/100.

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