Susperia - Cut From Stone
Tabu Recordings
Modern Thrash Metal
11 songs (47:07)
Release year: 2007
Susperia, Tabu Recordings
Reviewed by Dylan
For those of you who don’t know, Susperia had (in this reviewer’s humble opinion) a masterpiece with Unlimited in 2004. For a band that started out as a quite accessible melodic black metal band, comparable to Old Man’s Child or Tjodalv’s former band, the (in)famous Dimmu Borgir. After a debut album that didn’t really turn any heads, their sophomore release, Vindication, showed a band evolving towards a modern thrash style that suited them much better. Unlimited was a much more focused and mature version of the sound that Susperia had on Vindication, and was full of absolutely killer songs from start to finish. So now the band is back with another slab of metallic goodness and has made yet another calculated progression in their career, while still maintaining a firm grasp on the power, aggression, and melodic hook they are (or at least should) be known for.

Sounding like a mix of late 90’s Testament and Iced Earth, with some excellent old-school Metallica-ish solos, it’s amazing that a Norwegian band could sound so authentically American. They have always been a band that only take a few listens to get hooked in to their sound, and that has not changed here. I’d venture to say that Cut From Stone is a few notches past Unlimited in commercial appeal, but right up on it’s heals as far as quality is concerned. The album as a whole has a varied mix of song structures that are sure to keep the listener interested. Beginning with More, this one is a straight thrasher and features an anthemic chorus that is sure to be a fan favorite. Speaking of which, almost every chorus on this album is quite excellent and well-crafted, often being the shiny centerpiece of the song, but I digress. Lackluster Day begins with a great opening riff on top of mid-paced double bass, and then begins to show the hard rock influences in it’s headbobbing chorus and both of its short, yet oh so sweet solos. The Clone is the most aggressive song on the album, with that good old-fashioned thrash beat dominating the verses, and showcases the gruff, powerful voice of vocalist Athera. Distant Memory is somewhat of a half-ballad, beginning with an acoustic opening that sounds as distressing and regretful as the lyrics that accompany it. This song and the title track are excellent displays of what Athera is able to do with his voice, which is an excellent mix of raw throaty power, skilled control, and melodic ability. To get an idea of what he sounds like think of a arougher version of Matt Barlow, only with a deeper voice. Truly, this man is one of the more underrated singers in metal.

The album’s mid-section is not quite as gripping and strong as the opening one is, though the last few songs are among the best on the album. Under has one of the most commercial sounds of the album, but still manages to pack a melodic punch in the verse and chorus. Brother has an aggressively sung chorus, and is similar to Lackluster day in riff structure and style. The title track closes out the album on a great note, beginning with another clean guitar piece, you can feel Athera’s voice soaring into the sky as he carries the song’s chorus into the sky, after the band smashes through the verse sections.

As you can probably tell from my praise, Athera is the star on this album. His vocal lines are what makes these already solid songs stick with the listener after their conclusion. However, that is also a bit of a downside for the band, as their were only a few riffs and grooves that really caught my attention. One could say that this is the band focusing more on the song and less on their displays of skill, which is certainly a valid point. Still, I know these guys are capable of some truly awesome riffs, such as the ones found in Chemistry, Home Sweet Hell, and Off The Grid off of Unlimited. Another somewhat minor gripe is that the songs begin to seem formulaic and predictable by the time the mid-section arrives.

Cut From Stone was produced by the band members themselves, and sounds just as huge, crisp, and clear as when they produced Unlimited. It is quite sterile, so those looking for a raw edge will be disappointed, though I doubt anyone who is familiar with the band would be expecting that.

The bottom line is that this is a definite must for fans of the band, and a good starting point for the uninitiated. It shows Susperia in a more commercial light, and is a solid listen from start to finish. The songs can all stand on their own, yet some just manage to put their heads above the rest and truly stand out as masterpieces in the band’s overall repertoire. I’ve been playing this multiple times ever day this week, and have yet to get tired of it. Not quite as masterful as Unlimited, but damn close; anyone looking for some straightforward, hooky metal that manages to retain a thrashy aggressiveness needs to look no further than Susperia.
Killing Songs :
Lackluster Day, The Clone, Distant Memory, Brother, and Cut From Stone.
Dylan quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Susperia that we have reviewed:
Susperia - Attitude reviewed by Goat and quoted 83 / 100
Susperia - Unlimited reviewed by Jack and quoted 75 / 100
Susperia - Vindication reviewed by Jack and quoted 50 / 100
Susperia - Predominance reviewed by Danny and quoted 78 / 100
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