Sunday Old School: Death Metal Titans Suffocation
The New York death metal scene may not be quite as revered as the New York hardcore scene, but no-one can deny that it has produced some great results. One of the most acclaimed bands in death metal emerged from this scene, namely the grindcore-influenced Suffocation. Suffocation was formed in 1989 by vocalist Frank Mullen, guitarists Guy Marchais and Todd German, bassist Josh Barohn and a friend of his, though lineup would prove to be brief, as Mullen formed a new version of the band shortly afterwards with guitarists Doug Cerrito and Terrance Hobbs, along with drummer Mike Smith, all previously in the band Mortuary. The band took influences from the likes of British grindcore pioneers Napalm Death and Brazilian thrashers Sepultura and released their first EP, "Human Waste," in 1991 through Relapse Records, with a full length debut, "Effigy Of The Forgotten," following later that year via Roadrunner Records. The album was well received and the band went back to the studio to record their second album soon after. "Breeding The Spawn" was released in 1993 through Roadrunner, which was not quite as praised as the bands previous effort.
Drummer Mike Smith left the band after this release and was replaced by Doug Bohn and the band recorded their third studio album, "Pierced From Within," which has since become an extremely influential album in the field of extreme metal. After an EP in 1998 named "Despise The Sun," the band decided to call it a day. The band was not to remain inactive for long however, as Mullen decided to reform the band in 2003, being joined by original guitarist Guy Marchais, as well as guitarist Terrance Hobbs and drummer Mike Smith, in addition to new bass player Derek Boyer, who was formerly a member of Decrepit Birth. They quickly released a new album, entitled "Souls To Deny," the next year and set about making their mark in the world of metal once again by touring relentlessly, before releasing another well received album in 2006, which was self-titled. The band gained exposure to a completely different kind of audience in 2007, when they appeared in a commercial for The History Channel's documentary on The Dark Ages before splitting from Relapse Records to sign with German label Nuclear Blast for their next album, "Blood Oath," which was released in 2009 and earned the band their first entry into the Billboard album charts, when it reached number 135.
Suffocation is currently touring in support of "Blood Oath" and plans to release a documentary film entitled "Legacy Of Violence" this year, along with many other projects including a comic book and a video game. They are regarded as one of the most influential bands in the history of death metal and many young bands today can be seen wearing Suffocation merchandise and praising the individual members as well as the band itself, with drummer Mike Smith being credited as one of the best drummers in the genre and AllMusic.com naming Frank Mullen as one of the best vocalists in death metal.
Suffocation - "Seeds Of The Suffering"
Suffocation - "Breeding the Spawn"
Suffocation - "Pierced From Within"
Suffocation - "Souls to Deny"
Suffocation - "Abomination Reborn"
Suffocation - "Cataclysmic Purification"
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.
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