I imagine there are a lot of people out there who are intrigued by all the glowing reviews that Suffocation gets on …, but are hesitant to buy their CD’s. After all, they play a genre of metal that seems to have been labeled “brutal death,” so the casual music fan probably fears that something so extreme-sounding will only be accessible to the most hardened metalhead. Well, I’m here to tell you that ANYONE who’s willing to listen to this CD with an open mind will be able to appreciate its brilliance. Until very recently Pantera was the heaviest, most non-mainstream act I listened to, Tool was my favorite band, and I’d barely heard any death metal at all…then I decided to try Suffocation, and was immediately hooked. So, what makes this album so great? I’ll start with Doug Bohn’s drumming. While many mainstream rock bands use the same slow, simplistic bass/snare beat throughout an entire song, Suffocation was the first band I heard that really demonstrated that drums could be more than a glorified metronome. Doug plays quite fast and does an awesome job keeping things fresh, never allowing his playing to stagnate or become predictable. His beats are so complex, his fills so fast and clean, and his double-bass drum control so tight that I often can’t believe what I’m hearing – it just doesn’t sound humanly possible to have that kind of coordination. Probably the best drummer I’ve ever heard besides, well…the other drummers who’ve played in Suffocation (Mike Smith, Dave Culross). Then there’s the guitar work of Doug Cerrito and Terrance Hobbs. If you’re tired of the so-called “nu-metal” sound and its talentless guitarists who substitute lame sound effects for true solos (….., for example), you’ll really like what you hear on this album. As the previous reviewer ….. mentioned, the riffing is incredibly heavy, but always remains fast and well-played. And the solos are right up there with what you’d hear from old Metallica. In fact, I think Suffocation’s lead guitar work is even better than Metallica’s because both Hobbs and Cerrito can solo, and they occasionally alternate back-and-forth with their leads, Slayer-style. The title track has an especially amazing example of this. As for the vocals, Frank uses the low “death growl” which is fairly common in this style of music. Fortunately, he’s one of the few death metal vocalists who make it sound GOOD. Many death vocalists try way too hard to make their voices go lower than they’re capable of; these “singers” end up being COMPLETELY unintelligible, and come across as more silly than “brutal.” Frank’s vocals are just right: they’re growly and menacing, yet intelligible, and they fit the music perfectly. Even the lyrics are more intelligent than you’d expect. Although they mostly cover familiar themes like violence and death, the lyrics manage to be eloquent and rather poetic (!) at times, and are nowhere near as disgusting as those of Cannibal Corpse. In short, this band does everything right, and this album is perfect. There are still some other CD’s that I enjoy listening to ALMOST as much, but in terms of musicianship, and how tight they are as a band, Suffocation blows away anything else I’ve ever heard.