When it comes to the death metal, Suffocation are the godfathers of brutality. This is the band that every lame deathcore band in existence wishes they were. 25 years in the game and Suffocation could half ass it and would still obliterate the majority of the competition. With that being said, these old men have come back with their follow-up to 2009’s, Blood Oath, which Pinnacle Of Bedlam and really show these kids how to do it right.

One thing I love about Suffocation is that they follow the motto of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. With the exception of some obvious outside influence, the band sticks to the same formula for each record out. It’s technical without being guitar neck masturbation and always heavy as a motherfucker. Their staple element, their breakdowns, have single handedly inspired the entire genre of deathcore. Funny thing is though, none of those bands even come close in matching Suffocation in that department.

Much like Blood Oath, this album reminds me a lot of the heyday of the band. For the most part, Pinnacle reminds me of a much better produced version of Effigy Of The Forgotten and Pierced From Within, which are arguably band’s best material. There is a new sense of melody added but it’s not cheesy and is that outside dynamic that I was talking about earlier. It’s a welcomed addition because it prevents the band from going stale or just appearing to be going through the motions. Lastly, in what might be the bands final outing with the founding frontman, Frank Mullen sounds a little like father time has caught up with him. However, even with the noticeable age in his voice, he still sounds absolutely vicious and still remains one of the kings of death metal frontmen.

There is another interesting aspect of the record to note as well. This is the first full length in the band’s history without Mike Smith, who has relinquished his position behind the drum kit to Despise The Sun era drummer Dave Culross. Culross hasn’t skipped a beat and having a previous drummer that knows the style, return was a smart move on the bands part. The departure with Smith seems to be amicable because he does make a guest appearance in a re-recording of Beginning Of Sorrow one the final track.

I feel that I must comment on the level of production this album has. In terms of an overall sound, Suffocation has never sounded better than this. I guess it was a way of clinging to the old days, or it’s because they thought they were doing great production, but Suffocation has always had a sense of rawness about their records. Even the obviously better produced Souls To Deny, self-titled, and Blood Oath, the albums never sounded as clean as they should have. It appears that Chris “Zeuss” Harris felt the same way and has refined the material to a point of perfection. If the band does return to the studio ever again, they should do it with Zeuss again.

In the end you know what you are getting and that’s a good thing. Suffocation doesn’t have any major surprises in store for you. They keep it straight forward and ultra-heavy. Another solid outing that shows these old timers still have a lot of brutality in them.