Release DetailsLABEL Candlelight
RELEASED ON 6/19/2007
Cut From Stone
posted on 6/2007 By:
Norway’s Susperia first graced these ears with their 2001 debut release Predominance, a very enjoyable album that saw the band fuse together a flattering blend of blackened melodic death with some thrash n’ speed metal rudiments. Unfortunately, the disappointing and substandard follow up in Vindication showed a band that not only seemed to be in too much of a hurry to get that sophomore album under their collective belt, but also showed a band that seemed to pussify their sound some to cater to a more ‘listener friendly’ fan base. It would be the 2nd and final offering on the Nuclear Blast label and proved, yet again, that watering down your sound to expand your fan base will not fool the knowledgeable metal listener, who in most cases sees right through that crap. All seemed to be forgiven, however, with the band’s third full length, Unlimited, lunging for the jugular with an almost eerily clone-like offering that mirrored mid to late era Testament coupled with early Machine Head, not to mention a vocal performance that would make even Chuck Billy cough up a chuckle in admiration. Cut From Stone sees the group continue on with the same exact formula, keeping them on a path that I believe to be their calling.
The production might be a tad too polished for some, as it cleanses away the raw vibe that makes thrash…well, thrash. But fans of the more modern day production values will enjoy a mix that seethes with a clean cut drum sound containing slightly triggered kicks/toms and a poppy snare sound that captures drummer extraordinaire Tjodalv’s (ex-Dimmu Borgir, ex-Old Man’s Child) performance to perfection. Flying overhead is a distinguished and meaty guitar tone that gets beefed up even more so by the low end rumblings of the bass, and the lead guitar tone screams of the glorious days of 80’s style soloing when those moments arrive during the listen. With that said, whether you’re a fan of modern technology or not, the vocal mix has way too much effect glossing it up and it’s hard to tell if we’re hearing the real sounds of vocalist Athera or not. Don’t get me wrong, because the man has come a long, long way since the band’s early work, and his uncanny resemblance in sound to the afore-mentioned Chuck Billy coupled with a Burn My Eyes era Robb Flynn is impressive in its own right, but at the end of the day the sound just doesn’t appear all that authentic to the human ear.
When it comes to songwriting the album is a far more cohesive listen during the first half, and unfortunately the overall value of the listen seems to lag toward its end with songs that sound too similar to those that preceded them. The natural harmonics and aggressive, thrashy riff work in opening track "More" scream of early Machine Head all the way, and follow up tracks "Lackluster Day" and "The Clone" rage on with riffs that rely on tons of triplets and chunky, groove-laden head bobbing moments to make them work. The cleanly played intro to "Distant Memory", the "New Level" (Pantera) spirit of "Between the Lines" - in particular when leading up to the blistering lead section - and the magnificent cleaner singing toward the end of the album’s closing title-track make these three of the better songs on the album, as each track showcases everything that this band does well. However, other moments, like the displaced choruses in "Under" and "Deprived" to the shoddy and lackluster riffs littering "Bound to Come" and "Brother", not to mention the total cheese-fest that is "Release", leave a few black marks on the album as a whole.
When all is said and done this album definitely won’t elevate the band to the upper echelon of yesteryear’s classic thrash scene or have them keeping company with today’s elite, but it is the perfect follow up release that sees the band find their niche and monopolize on a sound that they simply play well. If you've enjoyed the band’s past work, in particular the path taken on Unlimited, then you should be plenty satisfied with this outing as well.
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