Soulburn - The Suffocating Darkness

by Eric Loranger

The metal landscape is always full of unique genres, whether it be the recently popular post-black metal or one of the many variants of death metal (progressive, melodic, technical, grind, and so forth.) Seamlessly blending styles into a cohesive whole has benefited bands like Enslaved, whose songs offer multiple sharp contrasts. But it's all up to the songwriters to take the puzzle pieces and make something out of them. Merely taking influence from different sources does not automatically make a classic, and sometimes it can come off as unfocused.

Case in point: Soulburn is a band whose genre can best be identified as blackened death doom metal, obviously the formula for a unique sound. But Soulburn never really achieve the potential of any of their influencing genres. While it's true that they blend tempos quick and slow with bellowing, Immortal type vocals and capable guitar riffs, the end results are boring and poorly produced.

Starting with its laughable album intro, The Suffocating Darkness does its best to sound dark. The hilariously goofy harmony vocals in "Hymn of the Forsaken II" illustrate this "aren't we scary" vibe. Now I'm a huge fan of metal and I know it's often a horror soundtrack by nature, but the cheese factor here crosses the line.

"In Suffocating Darkness" is reminiscent of Enslaved, but without the variety that makes that band so special. It basically just makes you want to listen to Enslaved instead. "Black Aura" is another song with potential that just doesn't seem to do anything with it. There are some good chords in the song, and a good punk beat towards the end, but overall the song is forgettable.

To be fair, there are a couple redeeming moments on the album. "Absinthesis" changes it up a bit with a grungy arpeggio opening, and a decently catchy chord progression. The opening riff for "I Do Not Bleed from Your Crown of Thorns" is pretty cool as well. But sadly these moments get lost in the repetitive wash of the rest of the album.

For the most part, besides the pretty cool album title, there's not a lot going on here.

Soulburn - The Suffocating Darkness

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