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Effigy of the Forgotten… A Turning Point in Metal History

John Coyne, Staff Writer

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Effigy of the Forgotten, released on October 22nd, 1991, by New York Brutal Death Metal Kings Suffocation, was the first Brutal Death Metal album ever created. Death metallers at the time thought that Cannibal Corpse would be the heaviest thing they would hear, with lead singer Chris Barnes leading the charge for guttural vocals, but that changed when fans got a taste of Suffocation with their debut EP, Human Waste released on May 1st, 1991. It contained three songs on “Effigy” and one song re-recorded for their third full album, Pierced From Within.

What made this album the first BRUTAL death metal album was that Suffocation was tuned in C standard, the lowest tuning used in death metal at the time, and the production on the album was amazing. Suffocation traveled all the way to Temple Terrace, Florida from their humble beginnings in Centereach, New York to record at Morrisound Studios so Scott Burns could produce their album. Scott Burns is the undisputed best old school death metal producer, producing music for many well-known bands from Napalm Death to Cannibal Corpse to Obituary etc.. However, it was not just the production that made this album a masterpiece. It was Terrance Hobbs’ and Doug Cerrito’s musicianship and brutal riffs, Mike Smith’s pounding blast beats, and Frank Mullen’s ridiculously guttural, yet understandable vocals that led Suffocation to be one of the most influential bands in metal history.

The first “Slam” riff ever heard back in the day occurs in the first three minutes of the album. Pounding blast beats and super groovy riffs were already apparent in the first minutes, and after a ripping solo by Terrance Hobbs, Suffocation drops the tempo and begins chugging the heck out of their guitars. These brutal mostly slow as well as medium tempo breakdowns, known as “Slams” are what made this brutal death metal. These riffs were the keystone to Suffocation’s success as death metallers are always craving something more extreme. Suffocation paved the way for the new genre of brutal death metal as well as also creating the movement for slamming brutal death metal, a genre dedicated to all slam riffs in ridiculously low tunings, which became prominent in the late 90’s early 2000’s.

If you have become an experienced metal listener and have decided that thrash is not extreme enough, maybe try out some Death or Cannibal Corpse and become one with the harsh vocals and catchy riffs. But if you have excelled further beyond that level of heaviness, hop on the pain train and get ready to mosh with Suffocation, and prepare to experience brutality from a band like no other. \m/

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Effigy of the Forgotten… A Turning Point in Metal History