Review of Suffering Hour - "The Cyclic Reckoning"

While writing for another website back in 2017, a new USBM artist came across the promo wires that thankfully landed in Hated One’s inbox for potential review. After listening to the first track only once, covering Suffering Hour’s debut LP In Passing Ascension became not only a necessity, but an obsession.

You see, the dissonant, atonal, and crushingly unique sound that this Minnesota act was only then just beginning to develop was already completely blowing the lid off this humble metal journalist’s skullcap; and just like a musician being inspired to write a song and finding it impossible to properly accomplish anything else until said song is written, Hated One was similarly stirred to pen a piece about the as-yet-unknown black metallers.

Since then, Suffering Hour have spent the past four years doing nothing else but sharpening, grinding, honing, and stropping the point of their knifelike sound to a scalpel’s edge.

Phenomenally teasing us all with the sixteen-minute, one-track Dwell EP in 2019, Suffering Hour confirmed that In Passing Ascension was no fluke, that the sound they had so dramatically debuted to the world on Ascension was still progressing and evolving, and that when the evolution of their sound was complete, the music emanating from these USBM prodigies would be hair-raisingly exceptional.

Well, ladies and germs, Hated One is here to emphatically and enthusiastically announce to the world that Suffering Hour’s sound evolution is hereby officially complete...and not only that, but also that none of you out there will have to wait much longer to experience this atypically superior band’s magnum opus (and proof of said evolutionary completion), The Cyclic Reckoning, in its entirety, either.

Due out February 19th from Profound Lore Records, The Cyclic Reckoning is the culmination of Suffering Hour’s eight-year maturation process, and, as if to deliver on the promises made by Ascension and Dwell, it is shockingly (but unsurprisingly) great. From top to bottom, fore to aft, and alpha to omega, The Cyclic Reckoning represents one of the best black metal albums that this grizzled, veteran journalist has ever heard. EVER.

Chillingly absonant yet simultaneously melodious, wildly cacophonous yet artfully ordered, and cosmically apocalyptic yet beautifully composed, every one of the five cuts that make up this masterpiece are like expert seminars in duality. Cold but warm, familiar but brand-new, and a perfect conglomerate of all the black metal that have come before them but somehow uniquely their own, Suffering Hour have crafted a style and a sound upon The Cyclic Reckoning that is unmatched in metal today, let alone black metal.

From the addictive riffage and chord-progressions of the opening track, “Strongholds of Awakening”, to the twisting, sinuous passages created by the multitudinous forms and expressions of the nearly seventeen-minute closer, “The Foundations of Servitude”, every delectable second of Suffering Hour’s forthcoming Cyclic Reckoning is pure perfection.

To get a taste of the impending excellence that is The Cyclic Reckoning, simply press play below to hear Suffering Hour’s official audio for “Strongholds of Awakening”, and follow the links provided below the video to order yourself a copy of this uncommonly fantastic album! \m/

Rating: 100 / 100 (A++)

Release Date: February 19th, 2021 (Profound Lore Records)

Genre: USBM/Dissonant Black

FFO: Imperial Triumphant, Deathspell Omega, Schammasch, Gaerea, Uada, Yaldabaoth (USA), Infera Bruo, Serene Dark

Suffering Hour Links: Facebook, Bandcamp


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