Suffocation (band)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Suffocation (26 von 30).jpg
Suffocation performing on Free & Easy Festival 2014
Background information
OriginCentereach, New York, U.S.
GenresTechnical death metal, brutal death metal[1]
Years active1988–1998, 2003–present
LabelsNuclear Blast, Relapse, Roadrunner
Associated actsIniquitous
MembersTerrance Hobbs
Derek Boyer
Charlie Errigo
Eric Morotti
Past membersFrank Mullen
Todd German
Doug Cerrito
Josh Barohn
Chris Richards
Kevin Muller
Doug Bohn
Mike Smith
Dave Culross
Guy Marchais
Kevin Talley

Suffocation is an American death metal band formed in 1988 in Centereach, New York. The band consists of lead guitarist Terrance Hobbs, bassist Derek Boyer, rhythm guitarist Charlie Errigo, and drummer Eric Morotti. Suffocation rose to prominence of death metal and created a blueprint for the genre for the 1990s with their 1991 debut album Effigy of the Forgotten, and have released eight studio albums since formation. The band's raw death metal style uses growled vocals with a downtuned guitar sound, fast and complex guitar riffs and drumming, open chord notes, breakdowns, and a sophisticated sense of songwriting.


Early years and the 1990s era (1988–1998)[edit]

Suffocation was formed in 1988 on Long Island, New York, by vocalist Frank Mullen, guitarists Todd German and Guy Marchais, bassist Josh Barohn, and an unknown drummer. By 1990, the band had hired guitarists Terrance Hobbs and Doug Cerrito along with drummer Mike Smith, members of the local band Mortuary which had already disbanded. The quintet was mainly influenced by fellow American death metal bands as well as the British band Napalm Death and Brazilian Sepultura. Smith commented on meeting Hobbs for the first time: "That's where I first noticed, 'Wow, theres another black guy playing this kind of stuff'".[2] The band's first EP, Human Waste, was released through Relapse Records in 1991. The full-length debut album, Effigy of the Forgotten, recorded by producer Scott Burns at Tampa's Morrisound Studios and released by Roadrunner Records the same year. In July 1991, Barohn was replaced by Chris Richards, as the album became substantially influential in extreme metal music.[2][3]

After the following album, Breeding the Spawn, was released in 1993, Smith left the band and was replaced by Doug Bohn.[3][4] The 1995 release Pierced from Within, which received better production than the previous release,[5] was followed by extensive tours in Europe, Canada, Mexico and the United States. In 1998, Suffocation released the EP Despise the Sun via Vulture Records and disbanded soon after. The EP was re-released later in 2000 and 2002 by Relapse Records.[3]

Reunion and later (2003–present)[edit]

Suffocation in 2010 (from left: Hobbs, Boyer, Smith, Mullen)

Mullen and Hobbs reformed in 2003 with Smith, Marchais, and Barohn. After which, they hired Californian Derek Boyer of the bands Deeds of Flesh and Decrepit Birth to replace Barohn.[2][4] In April 2004, Relapse Records released Souls to Deny. After the band played more than 400 shows in the United States and Europe including the Wacken Festival in Germany, playing to over 33,000 fans, Suffocation released their self-titled album, Suffocation, in 2006.[4] In 2007, the band was featured in The History Channel's promotional video for The Dark Ages documentary, playing the song "Bind, Torture, Kill".[6]

In 2008, the band signed to the German Nuclear Blast Records[4][7] and released their album Blood Oath in 2009.[4] The album charted on the US Billboard 200 at number 135.[8] In 2009, Relapse released the live album entitled Close of a Chapter—Live in Québec City, that was previously self-released by the band in 2005.[9][10] The release of a documentary film Legacy of Violence was set for 2010, but has since been delayed.[11] In May 2010, Suffocation toured with Napalm Death in South America and Mexico.[12] In February, 2012, Smith left the band again, to be replaced by Dave Culross.[13]

In 2012, the band was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame and released Pinnacle of Bedlam in February 2013.[14]

Since after the release of Pinnacle of Bedlam in 2013, vocalist Frank Mullen announced that he will retire from full-time touring with the band due to his new job. He has since been replaced by various live vocal stand ins, including Bill Robinson, John Gallagher, Kevin Muller, and, currently, Ricky Myers.

In January 2015, Suffocation began making posts revealing that they were in the process of recording demos for a new album with a potential release date of late 2015.[15]

In April 2016, the ensemble toured with Soulfly, Abnormality, Battlecross and Lody Kong.[16]

The new album's name was revealed as "...Of the Dark Light" and was released on June 9, 2017. Later in 2017, Kevin Muller, who had previously been a touring member, joined the band full time alongside longtime vocalist Frank Mullen leading the two to share vocal duties on the last album. He subsequently stepped down at the end of the year and was replaced by a returning Myers in 2018.

On March 12, 2018, it was announced that Frank Mullen would do one more tour with Suffocation before officially retiring from the band.[17] His final show was on November 17, 2018 in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Musical style and legacy[edit]

Suffocation's death metal style is influenced by grindcore. The band uses "outrageously guttural vocals with a bottom-heavy guitar foundation, blistering speed, unparalleled brutality and sophisticated sense of songwriting, complex time changes and lead and rhythm guitar acrobatics"[18] and frequent breakdowns.[19]

With their debut album, Effigy of the Forgotten, Suffocation rose to prominence of death metal and created a blueprint for the genre for the 1990s,[18][20] retaining their style after the reunion in 2003.[21][22][23] Decibel Magazine stated: "Effigy of the Forgotten was a benchmark for extreme music, as it sacrificed neither virtuosity or brutality, becoming a signpost for thousands who were still contemplating how to incorporate scalar runs, rapid-fire palm-muting and hummingbird-wing-quick picking into riffs, while opening up rhythmic dimensions and the scope of the blast beat."[2] described Suffocation as "American death metal's most consistent and punishing standard-bearers" and their style as "brutal death metal".[24] According to AllMusic, Mullen is one of the best vocalists in death metal.[5] Decibel Magazine stated: "One of Suffocation’s trademarks, breakdowns, has spawned an entire metal subgenre: deathcore."[19] Suffocation is one of the pioneers of technical death metal.[25]


Recording Timeline[edit]

Role Album
Effigy of the Forgotten
Breeding the Spawn
Pierced from Within
Souls to Deny
Blood Oath
Pinnacle of Bedlam
...Of the Dark Light
Vocals Frank Mullen
Lead Guitar Terrance Hobbs
Rhythm Guitar Doug Cerrito Guy Marchais Charlie Errigo
Bass Josh Barohn Chris Richards Terrance Hobbs
Mike Smith
Derek Boyer
Drums Mike Smith Doug Bohn Mike Smith Dave Culross Eric Morotti



A.^ Since the release of Pinnacle of Bedlam in 2013 until his retirement from the band in 2018, Frank Mullen announced that he would be retiring from full-time touring with the band due to his new job. He has since been replaced by various live vocal stand-ins, including Bill Robinson, John Gallagher, Ricky Myers, and Kevin Muller.[26]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales
US Heat.
US Ind.
Effigy of the Forgotten
  • Released: October 22, 1991
  • Label: Roadrunner Records
  • Formats: CD, CS, LP, digital download[31]
Breeding the Spawn
  • Released: May 18, 1993
  • Label: Roadrunner Records
  • Formats: CD, CS, LP, digital download[32]
Pierced from Within
  • Released: May 23, 1995
  • Label: Roadrunner Records
  • Formats: CD, CS, LP, digital download[33]
Souls to Deny
  • Released: April 27, 2004
  • Label: Relapse Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download[34]
  • Released: September 19, 2006
  • Label: Relapse Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download[35]
29 29
Blood Oath
  • Released: July 3, 2009
  • Label: Nuclear Blast
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download[36]
135 2
Pinnacle of Bedlam
  • Released: February 15, 2013
  • Label: Nuclear Blast
  • Formats: CD, CD+DVD, CS, LP, digital download[38]
152 2 25 58 197 119
...Of the Dark Light
  • Released: June 9, 2017
  • Label: Nuclear Blast
  • Formats: CD, CD+DVD, CS, LP, digital download
80 167
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Live albums[edit]

Title Album details Notes
Close of a Chapter: Live in Québec City
  • Released: 2005
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: CD, digital download[40]
  • re-released by Relapse Records on October 27, 2009[41]

Extended plays[edit]

Title Album details
Human Waste
  • Released: May 1, 1991
  • Label: Relapse Records
  • Formats: CD, CS, LP, digital download[42]
Despise the Sun
  • Released: April 30, 1998
  • Label: Vulture Records
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download[43]

Compilation albums[edit]

Title Album details
The Best of Suffocation
  • Released: January 29, 2008
  • Label: Roadrunner Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download[44]


Title Album details
  • Released: July 1990
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: CS

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Directed Album
2004 "Surgery of Impalement" Adam Wingard[45] Souls to Deny
2005 "Synthetically Revived" Adam Wingard[46] Human Waste
2006 "Abomination Reborn" Rick Carmona[47] Suffocation
2009 "Cataclysmic Purification" David Brodsky[48] Blood Oath
2013 "As Grace Descends" Tommy Jones[49] Pinnacle of Bedlam


  1. ^ "Best Metal Bands From 40 Different Subgenres". Loudwire.
  2. ^ a b c d Stewart-Panko, Kevin (May 2009). "The Memory Remains: The Making of Suffocation's Effigy of the Forgotten". Decibel Magazine.
  3. ^ a b c John Bush, Suffocation, AllMusic.
  4. ^ a b c d e Suffocation history at official Suffocation Myspace.
  5. ^ a b Leslie Mathew, Pierced from Within, AllMusic.
  6. ^ Suffocation: New Audio Interview with Frank Mullen Posted Online - Feb. 7, 2007 Archived 6 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine.,
  7. ^ Suffocation Frontman Talks New Album - Mar. 30, 2009[permanent dead link],
  8. ^ Suffocation's 'Blood Oath' Lands on Billboard Chart - July 22, 2009 Archived 25 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine.,
  9. ^ Stewart-Panko, Kevin (February 2010). "Suffocation; Close of a Chapter—Live in Québec City". Decibel Magazine.
  10. ^ Scott Alisoglu, The Close of a Chapter: Live in Quebec City Archived 23 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine.,
  11. ^ Suffocation: 'Legacy of Violence' DVD Preview Available - Jan. 8, 2010 Archived 6 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine.,
  12. ^ Suffocation Announces Mexico/South America Tour with Napalm Death - Oct. 26, 2009 Archived 30 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine.,
  13. ^ Suffocation Confirms Split With Drummer Mike Smith, Taps Dave Culross As Permanent Replacement .
  14. ^ Suffocation: New Album Details Revealed - Sep. 20, 2012,
  15. ^ Kennelty, Greg (January 16, 2015). "SUFFOCATION Demoing A New Record - Metal Injection". Metal Injection. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
  16. ^ "SOULFLY To Tour U.S. With SUFFOCATION, BATTLECROSS". 2 March 2016. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  17. ^ "Frank Mullen to Do "One Last Tour" with Suffocation This Year Before Retiring for Good". MetalSucks. March 13, 2018. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  18. ^ a b Eduardo Rivadavia, Effigy of the Forgotten, AllMusic.
  19. ^ a b Lee, Cosmo (September 2009). "Suffocation reclaim their rightful place as kings of death metal". Decibel. One of Suffocation's trademarks, breakdowns, has spawned an entire metal subgenre: deathcore
  20. ^ Eduardo Rivadavia, Breeding the Spawn, AllMusic.
  21. ^ William York, Souls to Deny, AllMusic.
  22. ^ Greg Prato, Suffocation, AllMusic.
  23. ^ Alex Henderson, Blood Oath, AllMusic.
  24. ^ Keith Bergman, Suffocation Suffocation (Relapse)[permanent dead link],
  25. ^ DiVita, Joe (February 15, 2017). "10 Best Death Metal Bands". Loudwire.
  26. ^ "Suffocation Members Talk 'Pinnacle of Bedlam,' Future of Vocalist Frank Mullen + More". Loudwire. December 13, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2017.
  27. ^ a b c "Suffocation - Chart history". Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  28. ^ "Offizielle Deutsche Charts". Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  29. ^ "Ultratop Belgian Charts". 2013-03-16. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  30. ^ "Ultratop Belgian Charts". Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  31. ^ "iTunes - Music - Effigy of the Forgotten by Suffocation". 1991-10-07. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  32. ^ "iTunes - Music - Breeding the Spawn by Suffocation". 1993-05-24. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  33. ^ "iTunes - Music - Pierced from Within by Suffocation". 1995-05-22. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  34. ^ "iTunes - Music - Souls to Deny by Suffocation". 2004-04-27. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  35. ^ "iTunes - Music - Suffocation by Suffocation". 2006-09-19. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  36. ^ "iTunes - Music - Blood Oath (Exclusive Bonus Version) by Suffocation". 2009-07-14. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  37. ^ "Metal By Numbers 8/12: The Chart Gets (ass)Jacked". 2009-08-12. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  38. ^ "iTunes - Music - Pinnacle of Bedlam by Suffocation". 2013-02-19. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  39. ^ "Metal By Numbers 5/1: Rob Zombie Rats Out the Charts". 2013-05-01. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  40. ^ "iTunes - Music - The Close of a Chapter: Live by Suffocation". 2009-10-27. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  41. ^ "Suffocation Announces Mexico/South America Tour With Napalm Death". 2009-10-26. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  42. ^ "iTunes - Music - Human Waste (Reissue) by Suffocation". 1991-05-01. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  43. ^ "iTunes - Music - Despise The Sun - EP by Suffocation". 2002-04-30. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  44. ^ "iTunes - Music - The Best of Suffocation by Suffocation". 2008-01-08. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  45. ^ "Suffocation | Surgery of Impalement | Music Video". Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  46. ^ "Suffocation | Synthetically Revived | Music Video". Retrieved 2016-04-14.
  47. ^ "Suffocation: 'Abomination Reborn' Video Posted Online". 2006-11-27. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  48. ^ "Suffocation: 'Cataclysmic Purification' Video Released". 2009-11-13. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  49. ^ "Suffocation: 'As Grace Descends' Video Released". 2013-02-22. Retrieved 2015-05-28.