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Supuration - The Cube
Review: This definitive album of early 1990s technical metal merges the best of the previous decade: the rising trend in medically/philosophically-oriented death metal, the Van Halen school of melodic rhythm rock that culminated both classically-inspired prog rock and the electric blues tradition of the 1970s, and the later Metallica/Voivod-inspired ideal of precision playing of intricate rhythms and the use of alternate chord voicings, creating a language in which the dissonant and the harmonious are a continuous moebius strip of evocative sound.
Unlike most melodic pop, Supuration use guitars as the primary instrument -- adorning tracks intermittently with sung vocals, but equally as likely the distorted whisper of death vocals -- and like a death metal band string together suites of riffs which form "scenes" through which a song cycles until a balance is found. These asymmetrical yet highly balanced song forms create a psychologically comforting sound, because not only do uneven harmonies work with balance to achieve a greater equilibrium, but circuitous paths lead to a resolution in interdependence of the darker and lighter paths of these songs. This is more difficult to achieve than it sounds, with Voivod overdoing the darker aspects and Cynic the light, and this album suffers from neither.
Its greatest audience will probably be among those who having gone through the more jam-oriented progressive metal of the 2000s will desire something that makes better use of the structuralist tendencies of metal, but for many death metal heads this album was aesthetically "too soft" -- a shame as they overlooked quality composition that could easily be re-set into "harder" circumstance if they felt the need.