Suffer surface on Bandcamp

One of Sweden’s many underrated bands of the early ’90s, Suffer released a short burst of excellent material from ’89-’94, almost all of which has languished in relative obscurity. The band’s best known releases are the Global Warming EP (1993) and Structures LP (1994), both released on the then-fledgling Napalm Records (NPR 002 and NPR 006, respectively).

Working almost exclusively out of Sunlight Studios with Thomas Skogsberg at the boards, Suffer produced choppy, grinding, somewhat technical death metal with tortured vocals, and a subtle dose of the off-kilter weirdness unique to early Swedish death metal. If you’re down with the first Affliction LP, you’ll dig this. The exceptional mix on Structures — a shared credit between Skogsberg and Fred Estby (Dismember, etc.) — highlights drummer Perra Karlsson’s (Nominon, Bergraven, Heathendoom Records, etc.) combustible performance, and makes for a terrific headphone listen.

Neither those releases, nor any of the band’s demos or 7″s have been reissued, and originals have become rather pricey. Fortunately, Napalm has made lossless digital downloads for Global Warming and Structures available for purchase via Bandcamp.

There are no extras, but they’re affordable, and in a bit of a miracle, it appears that no one’s tampered with the original mastering:

I don’t have originals to compare them to, but the waveforms match those of the MP3 downloads I picked up from Emusic years ago. It’s possible that remastering was done back then — and if so, whoever did it did a fine job — but it seems more likely that the label just took what they had in the archives and put them online. If that’s the case, Napalm’s lack of investment may have saved these recordings from a ham-fisted modern remaster.

Sadly, we can’t say the same for the cover art. Global Warming uses Salvador Dali’s 1940 painting, The Face of War, and Structures uses a fantastic piece by Canadian artist Sv Bell (Wombbath, Amorphis, more), and Napalm has completely obliterated both. Why labels trash their bands’ art — and their product — like this is beyond me.

In spite of the covert art, these digital releases are both highly recommended if the originals are out of reach. They sound fantastic and capture an interesting band performing at their peak.

With any luck, someone will compile all of Suffer’s early material into a single release with clean, dynamic mastering and gobs of liner notes.

References

  1. Bandcamp
  2. Metal Archives
  3. Discogs

Postscript

If you’re from the US and recall seeing the Global Warming EP all the time back in the day, you’re not alone. Turns out Stressball used a very similar cover for their self-titled album, also released in 1994. It was released on Pavement Records and was a pretty common sight back then. Great minds think alike, right down to the red logo with white trim.