Tuesday, 3 January 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Suma - "The Order of Things"

By: Jay Hampshire

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 11/10/2016
Label: Argonauta Records |
Tartarus Records



Suma have proved that, over fifteen years on from their formation, they can still challenge listeners, in terms of their expectations and their open-mindedness. This is a sprawling record that impresses, uplifts, and imparts melancholia in equal measure. It’s a feat, and one that makes it sorely apparent that the Malmo crew deserves much more recognition then they are afforded.

“The Order of Things” CD//CS//DD//LP track listing:

1). The Sick Present
2). Bait For Maggots
3). RPA
4). Being and/or Nothingness
5). Education for Death
6). Disorder of Things
7). The Greater Dying

The Review:

Suma are one of those acts who have a clearly defined trajectory in terms of their sound. Over the years they have stepped away from the ‘stoner’ vibes that permeated the likes of second LP “Let the Churches Burn” like a dense weed fug, and moved further towards the depths of the drone/doom spectrum. Latest release, “The Order of Things”, is ten years apart from “Let the Churches Burn”, and if you listened to both piecemeal, you’d be forgiven for thinking they were both conjured by different artists.

The Sick Present’ is sparse. Echoing drum hits and slowly swelling chords build tension and no little dread, unhurried and predatory. We get our first taste of Suma’s penchant for using samples (something that has featured throughout their career), but these spoken word clips sit frustratingly low in the mix, at times muddled, perhaps deliberately frustrating and mysterious.

‘Bait For Maggots’ beeps an alarm before rising feedback explodes into a chugging, rolling riff and sampled number-station command strings. Propelled by tom heavy drums, the instruments are joined by distant, bellowed screams. Things expand out, tremolo guitars adding a sense of broad physical scope that could rival Neurosis, before locking into a hypnotic, repetitive riff that’s like Mastodon played at half the speed. ‘RPA’ drives hard, throwing down a tone that is thick and gnarled, but not bludgeoning, allowing each instrument its own breathing space. It’s densely layered, breathless and galloping, and features some gurgling, gruff vocals that sound like Matt Pike in a well (in a good way).

‘Being And/Or Nothingness’ is where things get unsettling – a collage of backmasked howls, wails and ringing layered loops that is actually uncomfortable to listen to. ‘Education for Death’ drags us back in with an immediate stomper of a riff that gradually slows into the doomiest cut on the record. Held notes ring almost infinitely, and it becomes a test of attrition, asking how long you can stare into the bleak void. ‘Disorder Of Things’ is a shorter, sharper affair, bristling with a muscular, chugging riff that whips itself into a thundering frenzy backed by a shuddering, unstoppable drum performance.

‘The Greater Dying’ is absolutely breath taking. Jangling, echoing guitars add a moment of clarity that slowly grows into a cosmic, dramatic post rock rumble that lifts into a cacophonous maelstrom. It’s punctuated by anguished shouts into the swelling void, and moves dynamically, with layers falling away, only to come back stronger, changed, and never diminished.

Suma have proved that, over fifteen years on from their formation, they can still challenge listeners, in terms of their expectations and their open-mindedness. This is a sprawling record that impresses, uplifts, and imparts melancholia in equal measure. It’s a feat, and one that makes it sorely apparent that the Malmo crew deserves much more recognition then they are afforded.

The Order of Things” is available here
Band info: bandcamp || facebook

3 comments:

Bruce Jones said...

Whoa! Bait for Maggots is some pretty damn intense music for 06:00 am. Should of had a cup of coffee first :)

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