Back from the Crematory
France’s Supuration is easily one of the most experienced extreme metal bands out of the country, having formed back in 1989 and already gone through numerous name changes, and along with these changes, evolution in their style of metal. 2011 sees Xtreem Music releasing a compilation of the earliest demos that the band has released both under the moniker of Supuration and Etsicroxe, in the form of Back from the Crematory.
The compilation opens with the band’s Sultry Obsession MCD, with Hypertrophy/Sordid and Outrageous Emanations introducing listeners with an acoustic guitar line before breaking into a dark and heavy chugging death metal section then a fast, trem-picked section as the band begins their onslaught proper, with Ludovic’s deep growls. Faster sections on songs like these almost bring in an old school Swedish death metal feel, especially with the abrasive production quality. The atmospheric aspects of the music are not neglected, with various sound effects that are present at the background, shrouding the music in a dark and heavy atmosphere, and along with the guitar solos on the track bring out the doom metal elements that the band has included in their songwriting. Sultry Obsession further makes use of background keyboards to help to reinforce the dark and atmospheric aspects of the song. The guitar wielding duo of Fabrice and Ludovic also constantly engage in duelling solos, and at times almost remind listeners of old school thrash metal bands with their fingerwork and the play on the whammy bar.
The Official Rehearsal MC opens in a quirky manner, with what sounds like a carnival at the background with the almost happy and light-hearted mood, but is quickly dashed as Avoid the Contamination begins, displaying the very first materials written by the band under Supuration. The production quality is markedly raw, but this does not compromise the quality of the songs written, and compared to the songs on Sultry Obsession, the songs seem to be more straightforward death metal, with songs being faster than the first three tracks, what with the shred-friendly guitar solos that are included on tracks like Avoid the Contamination. The inclusion of more mid-paced tempo and few really slow and heavy moments displays their transition from a band playing thrash influenced (on Etsicroxe) to doom influenced death metal.
Etsicroxe‘s Haunted MC begins with a theatrical intro, and this time round, the production becomes even more raw than before. The increased speed and ferocity of the band’s material under Etsicroxe is immediately noticeable, as the band blasts on with reckless abandon right from the first track No Escape to the Chaos. The drumming is frantic, and the raw energy that seeps out from the band is infectious. The vocals on Etsicroxe lean more towards a higher-pitched, almost black metal-styled shriek, compared to the monstrous growls on the Supuration stuff. The guitar solos on these tracks are also more chaotic, with lesser focus on the structure and increased attention given to the number of notes that can be squeezed in. The band’s inexperience is also obvious on these tracks, with songs like Damnations containing some awkward moments, and the drums even sounding slightly out of pace. Riffings on tracks like Damnation almost sound like it could come off a Slayer Reign in Blood era record with a tinge of death metal, made even more so with the speed that the band tends to travel at.
The last 9 tracks are live tracks of Etsicoxe‘s Haunted demo, and a few more tracks, and displays the band’s tightness as a unit, unlike the numerous messy moments that were present on the previous demo tracks, and the tracks here serve as more enjoyable and coherent versions of their studio material. Furthermore, songs like Into the Crematorium displays some more of the band’s influences, with riffs that are reminiscent of Venom‘s Black Metal. The vocals here also lean more towards a growl that one would hear on the Supuration material, and could possibly mark the beginning of the band’s transition from Etsicroxe to Supuration.
Overall Back from the Crematory is a good introduction to newer fans of Supuration to the band’s early history, and listeners of death metal curious about early death metal out of France. A word of caution though, the overall extremely raw and primitive production of the compilation could put listeners used to more clean and polished production off.