French progressive heavy metal band that incorporated death metal elements. Changed name to S.U.P. to distance itself from goregrind-inspired roots, but remains the same band playing in an even less metal-entrenched style.
flag of France Supuration - The Cube (1992)
Supuration - Room Seven (1997)
Supuration - Chronophobia (1997)
The Cube
Production: Comfortable degree of room and better coverage on mids and highs than most metal albums have.

Review: This definitive album of early 1990s technical metal merges the best of the previous decade: the rising trend in medically/philosophically-oriented death metal, the Van Halen school of melodic rhythm rock that culminated both classically-inspired prog rock and the electric blues tradition of the 1970s, and the later Metallica/Voivod-inspired ideal of precision playing of intricate rhythms and the use of alternate chord voicings, creating a language in which the dissonant and the harmonious are a continuous moebius strip of evocative sound.


1. Prelude
2. The Elevation
3. Souls Speculum
4. 138.JP.08
5. The Cube
6. Through the Transparent Partitions
7. Spherical Inner-Sides
8. The Accomplishment
9. 4TX.31B
10. The Dim Light
Length: 34:21

Supuration - The Cube 1992 Reincarnate
Copyright © 1992 Reincarnate

Unlike most melodic pop, Supuration use guitars as the primary instrument -- adorning tracks intermittently with sung vocals, but equally as likely the distorted whisper of death vocals -- and like a death metal band string together suites of riffs which form "scenes" through which a song cycles until a balance is found. These asymmetrical yet highly balanced song forms create a psychologically comforting sound, because not only do uneven harmonies work with balance to achieve a greater equilibrium, but circuitous paths lead to a resolution in interdependence of the darker and lighter paths of these songs. This is more difficult to achieve than it sounds, with Voivod overdoing the darker aspects and Cynic the light, and this album suffers from neither. Its greatest audience will probably be among those who having gone through the more jam-oriented progressive metal of the 2000s will desire something that makes better use of the structuralist tendencies of metal, but for many death metal heads this album was aesthetically "too soft" -- a shame as they overlooked quality composition that could easily be re-set into "harder" circumstance if they felt the need.

Room Seven
Holy Records

Review: As progressive and quirky heavy metal with underground metal influences, this band sits somewhere between Dweezil Zappa and the first Obliveon album, emphasizing melodic songwriting with the playfulness of instrumental joy. On this album, however, complex intertwined themes are replaced by simple three-device songs that introduce verse-chorus motif clusters, with some device -- a quick-picked one note lead tugging at a melody which converges into a crashing cascade of power chords, an arpeggio harmonizing with a backdrone -- leading into songs that use a riff or several for each of verse and chorus structures through which they cycle, with perhaps one bridge evocative of the introduction, until cessation.


1. Deliverance
2. Bangs in my head
3. Real nature
4. My heart on my tongue
5. Room seven
6. World of cushions
7. A blue sweetness
8. The calling
9. Snake-eyes
10. The fall is too long
11. Fallacy
12. Imaginary life
Length: 52:33

Supuration/SUP - Room Seven 1997 Holy Records
Copyright © 1997 Holy Records

Almost all vocals are sung and not distorted growls on this album unlike previous works, and the influence of vocal melody from the Beach Boys through Stone Temple Pilots is evident. The music is beautiful and distinctly hummable, and beats anything on radio except that it lacks the dramatic nature necessary to achieve the kind of contrast that makes such songs identifiable and tangible to a broad audience. The one casualty that will be mourned is the riffcraft which silhouetted earlier albums; too much of the guitar work on this album is alternation between eggshell-fragile sweep picking and muffled power chords repeated to ride a rhythm. If this band were to fuse the latter technique with the aptitute of a Metallica for working a phrase into the staggered rhythms of power chord speedpicked riffs, they would create a far better version of contemporary AOR metal, but as it is, this album contains beautiful music in a digestible form that refrains from insulting listener intelligence.

Holy Records
Production: Crystalline with backspace condensed.

Review: Continuing in the vein of the previous Supuration album, the band (now calling themselves "S.U.P." to achieve distance, one might guess, from the thunderously uniform grindcore sound that had since the first Supuration dominated bands with medical names, thanks mostly to Carcass) mix the buttermilk melodies of light grunge (Pearl Jam) with their trademark hybrid technical metal, and throw in influences from industrial and jazz to percussion. Vocals have mellowed into a processed electronic growl and are more uniform, with sung vocals used almost exclusively in juxtaposition to the guttural, but this is done without the MTV night/day effect favored by nu-metal bands.


1. ...but all has changed
2. My isolation
3. No rejuvenation
4. Chronophobia
5. Room eleven
6. Twins
7. Like a wicker man that will never burn !
8. Overwhelming lethargy
9. Machinations
10. Strange impulse
Length: 48:19

Supuration/S.U.P. - Chronophobia 1999 Holy Records
Copyright © 1999 Holy Records

Looser in compositional style than earlier work, this album is a pursuit of musical spaces more than paths through them, but nonetheless does not abandon its emphasis on the structure and hence poetry of interlocking expressions leading from assumption to conclusion through internal conflict. Although one might not think to look for such things hiding behind such a gentle expression, some truly adroit riffcraft in a style that unites heavy music from Led Zeppelin to Atheist lurks on this album.

BLACK   |   DEATH   |   HEAVY   |   SPEED   |   THRASH   |   GRINDCORE