Lord of War - SufferNo, Kronos hasn’t died. But yes, this is a Unique Leader record which he isn’t reviewing. Rather than his cold, dead hands, I obtained it via the surprisingly bureaucratic AMG promo distribution system instituted this year by our Weberian overlords. A quick glance at the Unique Leader roster will leave you entirely unsurprised by the record in question: Suffer by Lord of War, a US-based death metal troupe. It’s technical with a touch of melody and atmosphere, branching out just slightly from the norm. There is a veritable horde of cripplingly average Unique Leader bands to scurry away from, but have the Lords gone far enough?

In short, they’re close to the edge but don’t escape. Suffer is composed of entirely competent technical death metal designed to get the blood pumping and impress with superior instrumentation. The riffs never fall below average (but never raise above good) and it’s a snappy, fast album which feels quicker than its 45 minutes on account of the tracks’ brevity. Chuggy, core-ish breakdowns and rhythms are periodically used to diversify and transition between lead riffs. They effectively induce head-banging (or at least head-nodding) and do vary the tempo. Short ambient intros, outros or interludes serve a similar purpose in partitioning the music to highlight preceding or succeeding heavy parts. It’s largely solid if unremarkable.

Nonetheless, I find myself liking Suffer more when it’s being melodic. They describe themselves as “atmospheric death metal” and when this is fulfilled, they do more to stand out. Towards the end of “Nexus of Hate” a melodic top layer is draped over the standard aggression and it makes for a reasonably good composition. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it melodeath but perhaps atmospheric death is indeed suitable. This idea matures by “Behold the Harvest” and the subtler compositions rear their heads to underpin much of this track. It’s all the better for it. They reappear sporadically throughout but of note is also “Hamunaptra,” wherein the topping melody legitimately recalls the not-awful-if-you-switch-your-brain-off Mummy movies from 1999 and 2001 (I seem to recall that Hamunaptra is important in them). It offers something beyond the typical chug and shredding.

lordofwar - 2016Rounding out the package, Suffer is very tightly put together. The musicianship is strong and each member rips through their material. While avoiding the sterility I’ve come to associate with Unique Leader production by retaining some rawness and rough feedback, it still feels somewhat artificial in its orderly precision. The deathcore-influenced breakdowns have that staccato feel and it’s far from organic-sounding. This is par for the course for Unique Leader but I wish they would experiment a little more with the way they make their roster sound. The limited dynamic range is also disappointingly typical.

Those who can’t get enough tech death may find enjoyable material here but the parts which stand out for me are quite few. It certainly isn’t bad and it engages reasonably well for its run-time but there’s no real reason to listen to this while I’ve still got Fallujah‘s The Flesh Prevails in my library.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Unique Leader Records
Websites: facebook.com/lordofwar | twitter.com/lordofwar

Releases worldwide: July 8th, 2016

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  • Kronos

    It’s nice to have a day off now and then.

  • SegaGenitals

    Far too much generic, mediocre metal being released in an era where giants are moving the genre forward in new and exciting ways.

    • GardensTale

      Overpopulation means oversaturation of every market in the long run, including metal bands. Which means that there will be higher peaks in quality that will be more difficult to top (also lower lows, see: Tetragrammacide)

    • Dethjesta

      Nothing new really – there was plenty of generic metal in the 80s while others were pioneering it forwards.

      • SegaGenitals

        Agree. However, shitty bands could never get the sort of exposure in yesteryear as they can now in the golden age of the inter-webs. Any prick with laptop and YouTube channel can defecate an album. (I suppose in truth gotta accept the bad with the good) Once, they were forced to fade away into obscurity. Unheard, and unloved. Sad to think that music like this could servive indefinitely on a server somewhere.

        • Dethjesta

          There is a lot more exposure these days and I see this as a good thing – it used to be much more difficult to find good new music. Although generic music may be prevalent, I’ll take that over missing out on music I love.

          Ultimately all music is art and all art is subjective. I don’t get the impression that this is a bad record, just that it doesn’t offer enough differentiation for this reviewer. Others may think differently.

          And at the end of the day/world (whichever comes first), the weaker albums of the world may survive on a server forever, but they’ll be long forgotten along with all the generic forgotten albums of yesteryear.

          Like this one:

          • SegaGenitals

            Power Metal is PERFECT…

    • Narrow minded

      Not trying to be clever or anything, I’m seriously asking if you could name some of those albums? I’m talking about Death Metal, not tech-death, not prog-death or something such where you get a glimpse of brilliance followed with some obnoxious wankery and/or pop music.

      • SegaGenitals

        Hmmm… most of the death I jam these days leans toward the techy side… but for recommendations sans excessive wank… Nar Mattaru: Ancient Atomic Warfare. Ur Draugr: With Hunger Undying. Horrendous: Anareta. Dead River Runs Dry: Hierophants of the Storm. Disma:Towards the Megalith. Cerekloth: In the Midst of Life we are in Death.

  • GardensTale

    A lyric video does them no good. Now I can actually understand that their lyrics are dumb as fuck.

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      “Just wrote a tonne of complex riffs after hours of painstakingly finger-numbing shreddery for track 3! How are lyrics coming along?”

      “The truth is worse than you could ever imagine.”

      “Hit me. Can’t be too bad dude.”

      “That was the lyric.”

      “…oh.”

      • Antilight

        “It’s okay, I was just going to Cookie Monster vocals anyway”

  • Gaëtan Baratin

    It’s July 5th and still no trace of a RotM post.
    The real AMG is back!

  • Tom Hardy

    Nice review. Checked out the embedded track and post 2:30 onward is all djenty, no mention in the review? Very later-era Meshuggah lead too. Does the rest of the album have similar sounding parts?