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Susperia: Predominance/Vindication (remaster)

Norways's Susperia have long been one of the most respected acts on the extreme metal scene. Founded by drummer Tjodalf (ex-Dimmu Borgir) and guitarist Cyrus (ex-Satyricon), the band also features singer Athera, guitarist Elvorn, and bassist Memnock. Together they created a sound that mixed technical thrash with black and death metal influences, and from the start Susperia generated a feeding frenzy from most of the major metal labels before signing to Nuclear Blast for their first two releases, Predominance and Vindication, both of which are now remasted & reissued in one 2CD set from the folks at Metal Mind Productions.

Predominance shows a band that is still looking to find themselves, as they've yet to establish themselves as the rip-roaring melodic thrash act that they are today. Sure, the thrash element is here big time, evident in such monster cuts as "Speciman" and "Vainglory", but the black metal influence still looms large on "Journey Into Black", "I Am Pain", "Illusions of Evil", and "The Hellchild". On these songs, Tjodalf is blasting away like a man possessed, with Athera spewing all sorts of menace over the furious guitar riffs from Cyrus & Elvorn. As a listener, you could tell that the band was struggling to unleash their thrash desires yet still holding on to their black metal roots. For the most part it works just fine, though Athera is all over the place as far as styles go-one second he's screaming or growling, the next he drops into a deep, melodic mid range, which might be unsettling to some folks, but in the end you have to admire how quickly he changes styles here. The guitarwork throughout is top notch and worth the price of admission alone, as producer Peter Tagtgren really brought the guitar to the forefront of the mix, and the results are super crunchy and precise ("The Coming of a Darker Time" is especially ferocious). There's a few bonus tracks here, one of the which is the studio piece "Behind Consecrated Walls" as well as two live cuts.

Over on Vindication, the style of the band seems to have veered more towards the thrash end of things, as much of the black metal elements have gone by the wayside, though there are some death metal and gothic flavors which pop up from time to time. Thrash titans such as Testament, Metallica, and Slayer come to mind on crushers like "Cage Of Remembrance", "Petrified", and "Completion", as the tone has taken on a Bay Area slant, complete with technical riffs and pounding drum work. Athera's vocals have almost fully morphed into the Chuck Billy influenced roar that would permeate Susperia's future releases, the black metal shrieks & growls all but gone for good at this point. The band even gets into an inspired Pantera-ish groove on the stomping "Bleed Yourself", featuring some tricky guitar work, crushing rhythms, and bludgeoning vocals. As on the first CD, there's two live bonus tracks here as well.

The package that Metal Mind has put together is quite eye catching, housed in an extended digipack with 2 full booklets, one for each release, chock full of essays, lyrics, and photos. It's a wonderful way to either revisit the beginnings of this powerful Norwegian act, or to discover their first two releases for the very first time.

Track Listing
CD 1 - "Predominance":
01. I Am Pain
02. Vainglory
03. Illusions Of Evil
04. Specimen
05. Journey Into Black
06. Of Hate We Breed
07. Objects Of Desire
08. The Hellchild
09. Blood On My Hands
10. The Coming Of A Darker Time
Bonus Tracks:
11. Behind Consecrated Walls
12. Of Hate We Breed (Live)
13. Vainglory (Live)
CD 2 - "Vindication":
01. Cage Of Remembrance
02. The Bitter Man
03. Anguished Scream (For Vengeance)
04. Petrified
05. The Bounty Hunter
06. Completion
07. Warmaster
08. Dead Man's World
09. Cast Life Into Fire
10. Bleed Yourself
Bonus Tracks:
11. Anguished Scream (Live)
12. Petrified (Live)

Added: December 26th 2009
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2098
Language: english

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