Suffocation – The Close of a Chapter: Live In Quebec (Relapse Records)

Sunday, 17th March 2013
Rating: 7/10

Here’s a shaky proposition: a death metal live album. Just about all of the big names have done one and they’ve all failed in their own right. Methinks no one is reaching for When Satan Lives over Legion or Entangled In Chaos over Alters of Madness, which goes to show death metal in the live setting is meant to be experienced in person, not on your stereo.

As Suffocation’s first foray into the live album field, The Close of a Chapter: Live In Quebec is good and brutally brutal (of course), but again, it’s a live death metal album. Recorded in 2005 in support of the band’s mostly tolerableSouls To Deny, this live set has been floating about in bootleg form the last couple of years, only for Relapse to release it, probably as a contractual obligation.

There’s no surprises in the song selection department, with classics like “Surgery of Impalement,” “Despise the Sun” (which is a criminally underrated album of the same name) and “Breeding the Spawn” getting the workout from Frank Mullen and the boys. Mistakes were left in, to add a “human” feel and Mullen’s over-usage of the f-word gets annoying, but hey, the man is from New York – he can say whatever he wants.

Stating the obvious, Suffocation is one of the better live death metal bands, whose live show is usually can’t-miss viewing. There’s no disputing the band’s relevance and impact on the death metal scene, but rendering an album likeThe Close of a Chapter as recommended listening would be doing Suffocation’s actual live show a tremendous disservice.

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