Pathology released Awaken to the Suffering in 2011. Since the release of Age of Onset, Pathology has become one of the biggest bands that have still stuck to the underground brutal death style. I’m not a HUGE fan of Pathology, but I do have a lot of respect for them and I am in love with their sophomore release, Incisions of Perverse Debauchery. Probably the most interesting thing (to me) about the underground brutal death scene is that the majority of the recordings seem to have really high-quality sound! As opposed to the underground (and just most of the overall) black metal bands that have shitty sounding records. I’ve always wondered why this is because plenty of the underground slam/brutal death bands don’t seem to be any more popular than the black metal artists. But I’ve come to accept that the whole lo-fi recordings are just part of the black metal thing. But it still puzzles me how there are bands like Pathology that have always had albums that (quality-wise) sound better than just about every Darkthrone album! But enough about that, what is this record like?
I personally think Age of Onset was a huge deception for Pathology. But that was quickly made up for when they released Legacy of the Ancients the next year, which is a fantastic record. With Awaken to the Suffering, it seems that Pathology hasn’t gotten any better…or worse; they’ve basically flat lined. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all…as long as they step up with their next release (which will assumingly be this year considering their release pattern since 2008). There are some differences and changes that have been made since Legacy of the Ancients, but they’re not huge and there’s only a few. One of them is the vocal style. There seems to be a lot more guttural pig-squealed inhales rather than just deep inhaled growls. I’m not really a huge fan of this type of vocal style, but at least they don’t sound bad at all.
Another change that is actually easily noticeable is the increase in the use of breakdowns in just about every song. In fact, the entire interlude track, Prolonging the Suffering, is almost completely made up of simpleish breakdowns. There are also several songs throughout the album that use (dare I say) deathcore-ish styled breakdowns. I’m not sure if Pathology plans to stay on this path for years to come or if they’re just experimenting with the idea. Either way, it actually doesn’t sound half bad at all. It does sound quite a bit different from the Pathology you may remember; but it’s still really good.
Like I said before, the sound quality of this album is pristine and very clean. This is actually the cleanest guitar distortion I’ve ever heard Pathology come out with. Usually, they seem to go for the really crunchy sound; but it seems that they’ve decided to soften things up a tad and give the music the chance to speak more for itself instead of relying on the crunchy distortion for the brutality.
Awaken to the Suffering is a very strong album and solidifies the fact that Age of Onset was just a hiccup in Pathology’s career and not a place they will revisit. I would give this album 15/20. I really hope to hear something that spoke out to me as much as Incisions of Perverse Debauchery did (but of course sounding different than Incisions). I would recommend this album to Pathology fans, brutal/slam death fans, and just flat out brutality fanatics!