Susperia – Vindication

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Susperia – VindicationReviewed: May 2002
Released: 2002, Century Media
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: EvilG

Man oh man, has this group ever progressed from their last outing PREDOMINANCE (2001)! It’s great when a band progresses like this and you can easily hear the improvements they’ve made. Susperia are from Norway and the band’s members will be familiar to some of you with people–like drummer Tjodalv, who was a co-founder of Old Man`s Child and Dimmu Borgir.

The biggest improvement is in the vocals and song writing. The vocals are not all shrieking and have taken on more melody. Of course, the brutal tortured screams are still present–they just don’t dominate as much as before. The vocals here are varied from the heavy to the more “thrash” sounding vocals. There are even a few places with some clean vocals. People who liked the band’s first album for the black metal sounds will not be as pleased with this. However, those with more of an open mind who like extreme metal that is still catchy and somewhat melodic will love it. One problem I had with the debut was that many of the songs sounded the same and when listening to the album it sounded like one long song. I don’t have that problem with VINDICATION. The songs stand on their own and there’s not a bad one on the album! The guitar riffs are also killer and make you want to bang your head when you hear them. You can hear elements of bands like Arch Enemy, Slayer, The Haunted, and even a little Dimmu Borgir (without any of the keys). The drumming is also godly. For me godly means lots of solid double kicks and lots of fills. Songs have more “breathing room” and are not just about how fast or intense they can be. This is still some very brutal stuff; the dynamics in the songs really make things more interesting. There is not a lot of lead guitars on the album, but tracks like “Petrified,” “The Bounty Hunter,” and “Warmaster” have suitable shredding. I’d just like more of it and in ALL songs! Some Black Metal parts can still be found such as in “Anguish Scream (For Vengeance)” but for the most part this is thrash influenced extreme metal.

VINDICATION was recorded at Abyss studios by Peter Tägtgren. Reportedly, this will be the last work Peter Tägtgren does before closing down his studio for good. Peter believed so strongly in the material for the new Susperia album that he decided to co-produce and assist totally free of producer-charge! Now that is impressive, huh?!!! The vocals were, however, recorded in Oslo, Norway at BBM Studio. Some stand out tracks for me are “Dead Man’s World,” with its Sabbath like groove on the main riff. Then there is the CD opener “Cage of Remembrance,” which immediately hinted at the greatness of the rest of the album and the progression the band had made. The album’s closing track, “Bleed Yourself” begins with a very cool ear-catching technical/progressive intro. Every song has something in it I could point out to you, but instead I’ll leave something for you to discover.

Susperia are back with a better-written and more mature album. Stronger melodies and much better vocals are found on VINDICATION. All tracks are worth checking out. Aggressive metal at its finest.

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