Review: “Suffer To Rise” by Voluntary Mortification

They say that the first bite is with the eye and so for their debut album “Suffer To Rise” Lansing Michigan’s Voluntary Mortification have gone the extra mile and not only got Mohammed Anam (Evocator, A Templar’s Burden) to create the artwork but also got Josh Schroeder (Lorna Shore, Ghost Bath, Dagon) to produce and engineer it, ensuring there is more than enough to whet our appetites before a note is even heard. An ambitious concept album, it tells the tale of a soul’s descent into the torments of hell and their ultimate redemption, with the band aiming to be “a light in the darkness for those who are broken and hurting”…

Cinematic introduction “Wages of Sin” is the flatline moment that brings in first cut proper “Death Tremors“, a bombastic Deathcore cut that absorbs classic Death Metal influences into a cut which combines throat splitting vocals, skull shattering percussive battery and downtuned staccato riff breaks to set the ultimate sinister and menacing tone. A powerhouse offering, it sets the tone for the record as a whole with what can only be described as faultless display of raging fury. “Vindicator” then pummels the ear drums in similar style, proving that the opening cut wasn’t a simply a flash in the pan moment before the contrast in the vocals becomes apparent with “Valley of Slaughter“. The range is impressive with the use of two distinctive tones in contrast to project the impression of two vocalists rather than one as they intertwine, the shriller and the lower being equally as effective and when they’re layered up in the mix so one becomes the backing vocal for the other, it’s nothing short of incredible. There are a few really interesting surprises in this brutal journey with the DJent guitar work in “Silence” adding some unexpected bounce as the band touch the void into Slam and while they are described elsewhere as brutal, they’re actually at the listenable end of that description as for a start your brain is perfectly capable if interpreting ever word of the lyrics. Politically aware “Demoncratic Society” talks about the greed for money and power that exists on the dark side of the Moon with the band having some Traitors inspired guitar work as they blast through the cut that has a surprising amount of swagger to it as it crushes the very bones with it’s intense destructive power.

Sounding like its inspired by everyone’s favourite series of dystopian action horror films “The Purge“, some brief moments of lead are incorporated into the deeply satisfying breakdown heavy “The Cull“. There are a few moments that cry out for a solo on the album as a whole, but the band are ones not to stray from the left hand path they have chosen of pure unadulterated rhythmic skull battering and for the most part they’re right to stick to their guns. “Abomination” brings a plethora of Groove Metal riffs to the table which makes for a tasty change up before the incredible post-false ending throat grating finale. It’s not one for the faint of heart because even through this is a monstrous Deathcore record, the sound of someone throwing up isn’t to everyone’s taste. Downtempo Deathcore with a beatdown edge, the album title track “Suffer To Rise” if a far less nauseating experience that may even attract a few fans of Suffer and Bound In Fear to this blunt force trauma of a record. Combining a few inspirations from the likes of Suffocation into the riffs “Crush The Serpent’s Head” brings Death Metal flavours during the first half before going Downtempo once more with anvil heavy skull crushing staccato sounds and vocals that will chill the blood of lesser mortals. What Voluntary Mortification have created is the audio equivalent of a Stephen King movie, something that has enough twists in the tale to keep you on your toes while at the same time giving you plenty of what you know [7/10]

Track Listing

1. Wages of Sin
2. Death Tremors
3. Vindicator
4. Valley of Slaughter
5. Silence
6. Demoncratic Society
7. The Cull
8. Abomination
9. Suffer To Rise
10. Into Your Hands
11. Crush The Serpent’s Head

Suffer To Rise” by Voluntary Mortification is out 22nd July 2022 via Rottweiler Records with pre-orders available over at bandcamp.

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