Suffocation, the Faceless, Through the Eyes of the Dead, Decrepit Birth, Fleshgod Apocalypse | Clearwater Theater | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Suffocation, the Faceless, Through the Eyes of the Dead, Decrepit Birth, Fleshgod Apocalypse All Ages Critic's Choice Recommended The List (Music) Soundboard

When: Sat., Oct. 23, 2:30 p.m. 2010
Price: $20
Seven years and three albums after Long Island death-metal band Suffocation clawed their way out of the mass grave marked "indefinite hiatus" (the reunited lineup includes three members from their full-length debut—not bad), they still haven't produced anything with the potential to be as influential as their first three records, 1991's Effigy of the Forgotten, 1993's Breeding the Spawn, and 1995's Pierced From Within. Then again, that would be a tall order. Those albums were down-and-dirty monsters of strobe-light seizure metal—you could easily swallow your own tongue imitating Frank Mullen's vocals (think werewolf with a sucking chest wound) or give yourself an aneurysm trying to keep up with Mike Smith's blastbeats. (And Mullen's "death-metal spirit fingers" belong in the pantheon of rock gestures alongside Pete Townshend's windmills.) If last year's Blood Oath (Nuclear Blast) suffers from anything, it's muscle memory—Suffocation have certainly hit their stride again, but that might be what's keeping them from trying much new. Either that or they just don't feel obligated to redefine their genre twice. The songs are straightforward at their core, despite the sudden tempo changes and unpredictable lurching from half-time to double-time—like all the great technical death metal that Suffocation inspired, they yoke the fiendishly complex to the bluntly primitive to make an arrhythmia-inducing nongroove feel like a brutal bludgeoning. The Faceless, Through the Eyes of the Dead, Decrepit Birth, and Fleshgod Apocalypse open. —Monica Kendrick

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