Fri Feb 4
Meow Meow
320 SE 2nd

DESPISE THE SUN! Mass obliteration and a prelude to repulsion! I wish I could write this based entirely upon the poetics of Suffocation, the great revolting lyrics their fans love, live, and die for. See, wimpy writer words aren't enough for Suffocation, a band so gruesome and unnatural it must be illustrated by the prosaics of death.

When Suffocation was born in New York back in 1990, metal was at a great divide. Fans were split down the middle: those who loved the bestial, older metal versus newbie freaks that wanted shredding and technicality. Being smart kids, Suffocation combined the complex and the heavy, and released Human Waste, thusly blowing/opening folks' minds and giving birth to everything from grindcore to Converge to hardcore and metalheads getting along.

Over the next eight years, Suffocation got harder, denser, and more popular. Records like Effigy of the Forgotten and Despise the Sun did what Nick Drake and the Velvets did for indie rock--seáncing hesher carbon copies, worthy new heirs, and a million billion wannabes.

Somewhere in there, the band took a few years off, came back in 2003, and are now gearing up to tour the US and Japan. Suffocation's new CD is Souls to Deny, an anxious slab of artsy extremity and lung-collapsing heaviness. Amazing thing is, it sounds totally fresh, relevant, and inspired--part techy grind, part death metal snuff out. So, despite the fact that fashion (they're still in retarded leather jackets and flannels) and album art (deadly, misty crevasses?!) have left them dated and dorky in the '90s, Suffocation's music continues to tear forward.

So, above all else, consider this show a history lesson and a demonstration of metal's future--which, from here, looks incredibly bright. Or dark. Depending upon how you look at it. In the beautiful world of hesh, it's all one and the same.