Decrepit Birth – …And Time Begins

I’ve never quite understood why everyone interpreted ‘Souls To Deny’ as Suffocation’s triumphant return to the metal scene. Sure, it was an excellent album, but everyone seems to be willfully ignoring ‘…And Time Begins’ from just a year before! I’m not sure what causes such an oversight in what appears to be the entire metal community, but I’ve decided to take the time to shed light on this little-discussed entry in Suffocation’s lengthy catalogue.

Well, I guess one of the reasons is that it’s just not that good an album. Suffocation’s trademark has always been in their unique variety of pummeling yet obfuscatingly technical brand of death metal. And certainly, this album has all of Suffocation’s trademark sounds: it’s just as brutal and technical as it’s always been. However, unlike previous albums where Suffocation showed a genuine change and development from release to release, ‘…And Time Begins’ doesn’t really go much of anywhere. Sure, it certainly sounds more modern, resembling the newer style of grindcore-influenced brutal death that was popularized at the turn of the millenium, but the music itself seems to go nowhere that has not been tread before by Suffocation or other bands.

Not to say that ‘…And Time Begins’ is an utter loss. Certainly, it packs more technicality and brutality into it’s half-hour running time than previous Suffocation releases. All the instruments are played viciously quickly and precise, and there are plenty of Suffocation’s classic breakdowns to go around. However, the simple fact is that there just isn’t that much development present on the album. If purchased by metalheads who are not that familiar with their previous works, I’m sure ‘…And Time Begins’ would be greeted with great enthusiasm. However, metalheads who don’t know Suffocation like the back of their hand are a rare breed indeed, making this album somewhat difficult to recommend. Certainly, fans of brutal, technical death metal will enjoy it, but I don’t know how much they’ll appreciate the rehashing of old elements.

‘…And Time Begins’ is not a bad album. It is simply highly, highly derivative brutal death metal that the vast majority of us have heard time and time again. For the brutal death metal fan, this is not at all a terrible purchase. But there is little to motivate a fan outside the style to make the purchase.

(Originally written for http://www.grindingtheapparatus.net)

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~ by noktorn on November 28, 2006.

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