Album Review: Suppression – The Sorrow Of Soul Through Flesh

Album Review: Suppression - The Sorrow Of Soul Through Flesh
Reviewed by Sam Jones

With the kind of artwork that Suppression are sporting with their debut record, The Sorrow Of Soul Through Flesh, there was no way that I wasn’t going to check this out and, if anything, this was a chance listen. Formed in 2012 out of Santiago, Chile, Suppression have evidently been at this for some time now having released their first Demo within the same year but, its only in recent years that Suppression have really got themselves together and releasing more material. It wasn’t until 2019 where the band finally followed up with a new EP, a subsequent Demo in 2020 before finally bringing themselves full circle to this full length studio album here in 2022. A full decade having past since their inception, I can imagine each member of the band being particularly proud of what they’ve managed to accomplish, so now it falls to us to see whether those efforts have paid off. With that aforementioned artwork and a cerebral title like The Sorrow Of Soul Through Flesh, it was always going to grab my attention.

There’s a fat quantity of bass flowing through this record, the kind that isn’t able to hide itself from your senses. It’s there on full display for you to experience whether through the emboldened riffs, the basslines themselves or the actual record’s punching sound. From the moment this album starts, it’s seeking to have you thrust into the back of your seat with the sheer power it manages to exert. But it’s just the right amount of force, it’s not so incredible of a whirlwind that it doesn’t forget the earth and loses track of where it’s going. Your attention is forever fixated on the band’s performance, bold and firm as it is, and always have an understanding of where they’re taking you. The overall soundscape they deliver isn’t overly preposterous, it’s evidently mighty but it doesn’t overwhelm us. I think Suppression hit the sweet spot in the right place to allow us to feel that power where and when it matters, as well as ensuring it isn’t so chaotic we lose focus of where we’re going. It’s like diving headlong into a storm’s eye, the serenity of our whereabouts flanked on all sides by insane madness.

Speaking of basslines though, this is one of the first albums in recent memory where a bass has made me audibly recoil at its performance. When the track “Overfeeding Gaps” began, and the bass work ensued, i genuinely went “OooH” because I wasn’t expecting such a work of death metal to feature basslines as groovy yet malignant as Suppression demonstrate here. It’s the tell-tale sound of a fretless bass being implemented and it seriously shows. Utilising this bass as it’s own entity throughout the record and not merely as a sidekick to the guitar work elevates the album to greater and more misanthropic heights; Suppression, here and there, are not playing by the rules nor your expectations so when you hear something genuinely different it strikes a chord within you, seemingly underlining that record within your mind. In addition, this fretless bass is always audible throughout the album and isn’t reserved for some particular moments. It lends the album a dark but weird aesthetic that other records haven’t touched upon lately. Sounding evil is one thing but, it’s entirely another to feel evil that can’t be easily described.

Album Review: Suppression – The Sorrow Of Soul Through Flesh

I was completely enamoured by the guitar work on this record. The soloing we hear has to be some of the most inventive and identity-defining I’ve heard since the start of this year. It’s all well and good to shred and play the guitar well, but it’s something else altogether to establish your riffs and freeform playing in such a way that you could pop this record on and know explicitly what track you’re listening to. What’s more, the strange quality the bass exacts is equally showcased in the guitar work. Often exploding into left-field and otherworldly styles of sound, the guitar work is really something to behold. The riffs are grooving and oozing with power thanks to that bass-amplified production, and their guitarist absolutely takes advantage of it to forward these unusual yet striking displays of inventive soloing. By the time you’re halfway through this record you’ll know you’re listening to a very unique record amidst the annals of 2022’s extreme metal already.

I think what continues to sell this album for me though, is how many different forms of tracks and riff deliveries the band keep conjuring up for us. There are times where the music is much more ruthless, the riffs being these massive and encroaching pieces that fall on us like dead weight giving the album a rolling and thunderous tone. But then you’ve got tracks that allow the band to open up a little more, enabling the audience to take a few more breaths; riffs may be much more broken up yet still retain that nightmarish sense of flurry that many riffs herein possess. Even when the riffs aren’t intending on going full bore at us in the traditional sense, Suppression still continue to invent riffs that offer different styles all the while keeping in line with what they’re cementing as their identity. For a work of South American Extreme Metal, a region that can be synonymous with some cut and dry death metal, Suppression go the extra mile in delivering material that only expands on previously established songwriting the further you dive into this record.

In conclusion, I want to state that this album was a joy to listen to. As mentioned beforehand, South American Extreme Metal can run the risk of sometimes coming off as run-of-the-mill however there are some acts, particularly in the Chilean metal scene that are shining examples of merely of that South American continent but globally too. Bands like Ripper, Unaussprechlichen Kulten and Perversor are some of Chile’s biggest metal exports and I genuinely we can add Suppression that esteemed few. This album is a living and breathing thunderstorm that envelops then spits you out haggard and destroyed. But it’s not just the rolling power this record possesses that helps it to stand out, it’s prepared to move into weirder territory pretty quickly through the application of fretless basslines, inventive riffs and solos etc. It isn’t too much of one thing or the other, striking a nice balance between the two so things stay fresh and do not lose that immediate Wow factor. I could have listened to another 3/4 tracks here and, taken the runtime to nearly an hour for the quality of material Suppression have for us. Cerebral yet malicious, this is an album I think fans will gravitate towards with utter ease. You’ll be pulled in and happily compliant to the band’s whim within the first minute. Guaranteed.

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