Soulburn – The Suffocating Darkness (Century Media)

Tuesday, 18th November 2014
Rating: 7.5/10

Sixteen years is a long time between albums! There’s been a whole generation of kids born that now have their drivers permits. But it’s been that long since Dutch metallers Soulburn have released anything. Originally formed from Asphyx in the mid ‘90s, Soulburn released Feeding On Angels in 1998 only to go back into hibernation when Asphyx did a short-lived return in 2000. So how has age affected the band? Not much really…

Soulburn was set up as a way for Asphyx members Eric Daniels and Bob Bagchus to channel their inner Bathory, Venom, and Celtic Frost, so if that’s your bag, you’ll find plenty to enjoy here. While the influences are quite visible (hence the point of the album you know), Soulburn provides a blend of death, black, and doom that keeps things enjoyably varied. There are a number of great thrash riffs buried in here, helping at the quicker tempos (see “Absinthesis”) but also not afraid to bring in the black metal influences either (“Hymn of the Forsaken II”). On the doomier side of things, lumbering sections like the opening to “Wielding Death” and “Claws of Tribulation” ensure you never get too hung up on speed. These revival-esque albums usually stumble when it comes to production, but The Suffocating Darkness sounds great (the mix/mastering was from Dan Swano after all). It carries the needed old school weight without sounding too dated.

A long time in the making, The Suffocating Darkness will please those looking for something old school yet properly varied and sounding of the “non-Swedish” variety. Soulburn and Thanatos come together to bring a nice new slab of Dutch death for all to enjoy.

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