Published Jun 14, 2017For the past three decades, New York brutal death metal legends Suffocation have been consistently releasing albums that ring true to the sound they started with back in the late '80s. Their eighth album to date, ...Of the Dark Light (out now on Nuclear Blast) unsurprisingly carries on the tradition.
It's a tricky balancing act between consistency and repetition. "We really do want to keep the consistency of what Suffocation's sound was, what it has been throughout the course of years and still is," guitarist and songwriter Terrance Hobbs tells Exclaim! "I think we have a certain formula that we use as far as [recording goes]. I think that's what keeps it as consistent as possible. We try to really get our tones and get our sound, and try to keep that as consistent as possible."
The new record, like 2013's Pinnacle of Bedlam, is a punishing assault of old-school death metal, combining intense rhythms and slamming riffs with intricate technicality and unique structures. But with more than half the band turning over — new members include drummer Eric Morotti, guitarist Charlie Errigo and guest vocalist Kevin Muller — it was incumbent on core members Hobbs and bassist Derek Boyer, as primary writers of music and lyrics respectively, to keep the Suffocation flame burning.
"Derek is constantly writing lyrics and has been for a long time, and I've been writing music for this band since the beginning, so I don't think [we're] going to change the style of what we are. I think we're in pretty good shape as far as the formulas that we use."
A formula that's been successful for 30 years still has its drawbacks. "It does get a bit difficult because you don't want to repeat yourself. We're not doing an album a year, so it's better that we take our time and let the riffs come out naturally."
At heart, Suffocation are only trying to please the fans who've remained loyal over decades. "It would hurt my feelings to not live up to the expectations. There's always that pressure that's like, you're never going to make that first record that everybody heard from you. But now we're eight albums deep, so we really want to take our time and take pride in what we do, and make sure that we make something that's as aggressive as everything else that we've done."