“Effigy of the Forgotten” is such an interesting album to review, maybe since it contains zero elements of the melodic department, instead having this pure, insane focus on rhythm. The guitars chainsaw through every song with a buzzing, conquering speed that almost never stops, while in between, cymbal chokes hammer down on you like large-caliber bullets. While most metal, even in the DM subgenre, usually has a bit of “space” in the mix to resonate within, Suffocation leaves none, holding you cruelly in their claustrophobic chokehold, your mind attacked by their labyrinth-like collection of riffs; and the calculated repetitive nature of this insisting battering on some songs like the title track, quickly grows close to being an overkill; the constant violence rendering its structure partly unimportant, serving just to contain and organize.
The only relief comes from those slower grooves that gave much inspiration for today’s modern BDM\Slam; and there are also a few catchier numbers like “Jesus Wept” and “Reincremation“, with their ultra-memorable main riffs. Many times, the band sounds so immersed in their own created chaos that the listener becomes unsure – where is his place in all this estranging music? But there are also middle-of-the-road options where the guys stick together the catchy and the chaotic very well – like “Seeds of the Suffering” and “Infecting the crypts“. Those are the real classic tracks here, me thinks. Give one of’em a listen and you will either immediately love it – or regret it – depending on your taste in music. As I said, “Effigy…” is not a forgiving listen..
Representing the convoluted nature of this album, the artwork does a good job. The place or world captured in this painting is really terrible, and was probably meant to reflect modern humanity’s demise and self-destruction with a glimpse into a possible, quite ugly future. The lyrics touch on that too if I remember correctly, though lately, I can less and less relate to this bleak perspective on humanity. It’s great as a creative expression of release – from conventions and from lies. Yes, extreme metal is maybe the greatest place and opportunity to unleash the angst and pent-up energy that life instills in you. But I wouldn’t wanna get lost in this dark chaos, and within the genre of DM prefer the less cold and more human perspective on life bands like ATG or (early) In Flames offer.
When speaking solely about rhythm though, of that “brutality” every metal site today likes to measure DM records with, then this here is the birth of it ! And with it Suffocation achieve a classic state, playing an important role in metal history, and inspiring some of my favorite bands to later come up with their own killer records. To sum it up, beyond enjoying the amazing drumming and guitar dexterity of “Effigy..”, this harsh and terrifying delivery of sound is hard to *love* in the deeper sense, but can and should be respected and hailed as the artistic monolith it is. A monolith of Death Metal !