1. Sinergy Awakes 05:42
2. Introversion 04:06
3. The Disenthrall 02:17
4. Consumate 06:00
5. The Incongruents 03:33
6. The Delegation 05:24
7. Data Dance 05:04
8. The Flight 03:39
9. The Climax 05:09
‘I have sat inside the tub half filled with water. I have run the flat of the blade over my skin, felt its gelid menace slither invitingly across my veins. I have watched the waters turn russet with the slivers of a thousand unconsummated dreams. Moments like aeons I have spent hovering over my erstwhile shell, watching my mother cradle my head in her arms. Without mooring, I have languished, lost and confused, in limbo, an infinitesimal point of energy with no anatomical compass, yet a mute witness to the senseless pain, internecine and futile, that I have inflicted on myself, and my kith and kin. I am suffering a second postpartum death, a severance from Mother Life herself, seeking a way out of this interstitial, cosmic funhouse, to escape past failures and misgivings that haunt me from around every corner. Has it been seconds or seasons, has time ceased to hold all meaning? Weary and discombobulated, I wander in search of …what? Salvation? Reunification? Termination?
I see something in the far distance, refulgent as it draws close. Closer still, and I can now see it is a cube. It cuts through me in a painless embrace, imprisoning me inside its translucent walls. I look out through them and realize that I have lost all sensation of space. We bob in a sea of nothingness, though not in desolation for there are other cubes around, just like mine. Containing others, just like me?’
That, to paraphrase, is the starting premise of Supuration‘s Cube saga, now in its third installment, each spread ten years apart from the other, but one that, I presume, has been expounded on in the band’s other incarnation as S.U.P. (Spherical Unit Provided). Supuration’s under-appreciated debut from 1993, ‘The Cube’, displayed a perfect balance of death/doom metal, tinged with elements from traditional heavy metal and thrash, sifted through a distinctly Voivod-ian sieve. The follow-up ‘Incubation’ elaborated on the story from a pregnant woman’s perspective, each song denoting a month in the gestation cycle, the seed inside belonging to the character from the debut, now in the throes of rebirth. It is an intriguing concept, but Incubation, while still being memorable, went too far in compromising the subtle grittiness of the first LP, adopting a more intrusive goth-metal sentimentality that was all the rage in the mid-90s.
Fortunately, CU3E sees Supuration returning to the style of their debut, amplifying the rougher edges yet adamantly, and refreshingly, refusing to entertain any modern-day fads. This is fervently old-school metal, in tone, matter, and spirit. Supuration‘s technicality doesn’t derive from any overstated prowess at instruments, but from an understanding of dynamics and a powerful harmonic unity. Often, power lies in words that aren’t said, in notes that aren’t played; Supuration demonstrate the axiom to the fullest. They are a band of words and images, and I imagine their approach to songwriting provides the optimum platform for dispersing their ideas.
Supuration aren’t an overly aggressive band. Sure, there is a seething undercurrent of darkness and mystery in their music, but these are songs that could be called mellow, idyllic even, though admittedly by a somewhat twisted imagination. The drumming rarely steps outside established heavy metal norms, almost never resorting to death metal staples. The music is a hybrid of Scandinavian death metal, early works of the Peaceville doom trio, and the more accessible sound that they, along with the likes of Rotting Christ, Moonspell, Septic Flesh, and others, went on to adopt as the 90s wore on. It serves well to remember, however, that Supuration were their contemporaries in every possible manner and not just con artists that arrived at the scene post-event.
Ludovic Loez’s vocals during the cleaner, robotic sections, are heavily inspired by Snake from Voivod, as is the band’s use of dissonant, “pulsing” chords, so common on Dimension Hatross and Nothing Face. It seems a happy coincidence that both bands have released great, come back albums this year. Supuration also make sparing use of choirs to emphasize a certain dreamlike quality so central to their lyrical concept. The songs work well enough as stand alones – ‘Consumate’ has a main refrain that reminds me of Metallica‘s Orion, ‘The Delegation’ has a chorus infectious as the Spanish Flu, and there are classic hooks scattered throughout – but there is a central thread running from start to finish. CU3E is an album, first and foremost, a quality rarely found in modern heavy metal. And therein lies Supuration‘s greatest triumph.
Just a beautiful old school metal album that has a little in it for everybody.