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This latest offering from the mighty Suffocation is as textbook death metal as it comes.

But, something I never thought would occur regarding these New York giants is here is just not a lot to love from me this time around! The reason why I reached this conclusion after three rounds with “…Of the Dark Light” is that it feels really stale and almost half-assed, for a band with such a solid history of albums.

Here’s the breakdown upon numerous listens to Suffocation in 2017.

While all of the traditional death metal elements are evident, unfortunately, it drags aimlessly on even with the mind-boggling-BPM guitar shredding and blast beats which seem to attempt to give it some direction.

The founding member Terence Hobbs’ and longtime Guy Marchais replacement Charles Errigo are of course playing as though their entire existence depended on it but they aren’t doing anything to ignite a spark in our collective metal conscious. They do bleed together perfectly, however, as does Frank Mullen‘s  brutal screams fit in perfect unison, together churning out as much guttural as the earth can handle–Eric Morotti & Derek Boyer backs them with machine gun like precision. But, throughout the 36 minute lifespan of this album it could well be one of those moments where Suffocation fans can either headbang in appreciation at the notion they’ve neither sacrificed their roots or integrity and are purely delivering another “classic” death metal release or stand with arms crossed at wanting something a little better crafted.

“…Of the Dark Light” is unfulfilling and merely an entree of run of the mill verse/chorus/verse/chorus/lead/end death metal! Harsh? Yes perhaps! But, readers, as followers and diehard fans of death as a genre we have been exposed to a plethora of all aspects it harnesses and reveals upon our eager ears, whether it be mediocre, amazing, terrible or just plain awful. Suffocation over the course of their 27-year career has always stepped up and slaughtered all in their path. 2013’s “Pinnacle of Bedlam” a prime candidate for this very argument. It was as diverse in all structural aspects as it could’ve been. Whereas “…Of the Dark Light” is where we may well have to pass. There is nothing structurally that keeps any interest for any significant portion of the album from the opener “Clarity through Deprivation” to closer titled “Epitaph of the Credulous”.

On top of this, the production is nowhere near as good or polished as past Suffocation releases and each time we hit repeat on this album we are left wondering if we should be trying harder to listen for greatness.

Unfortunately, to me, they are another band just rolling along in 2017 without delivering greatness worthy of their long and figurehead like career.

Two stars purely because 1.) They released a product & 2.) They have outlived many death metal wannabes.

“…Of the Dark Light” is out June 16, 2017 via Nuclear Blast.

2/5 ⭐⭐

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