Suffocation performing on Free & Easy Festival 2014
|Origin||Centereach, New York, U.S.|
|Genres||Technical death metal|
|Years active||1988–1998, 2002–present|
|Labels||Nuclear Blast, Relapse, Roadrunner|
|Past members||Frank Mullen
Suffocation is an American technical death metal band that was formed in 1988 in Centereach, Long Island, New York, United States. The band comprises vocalist Frank Mullen, guitarists Terrance Hobbs and Charlie Errigo, drummer Eric Morotti and bassist Derek Boyer. 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 seven 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)
Suffocation was formed in 1988 on Long Island, New York, by vocalist Frank Mullen, bassist Josh Barohn, guitarists Guy Marchais and Todd German, and Barohn's friend on drums. Guitarists Terrance Hobbs and Doug Cerrito, along with drummer Mike Smith, former members of a local band Mortuary that disbanded at the time, joined Suffocation and created a new lineup with Mullen, Hobbs, Smith, Cerrito and Barohn. 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'." 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 bassist Josh Baron was replaced by Chris Richards, as the album became substantially influential in extreme metal music.
After the following album, Breeding the Spawn, was released in 1993, Smith left the band and was replaced by Doug Bohn. The 1995 release Pierced from Within, which received better production than the previous release, 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.
Reunion and later (2003–present)
Mullen and Hobbs reformed in 2003 with Smith, Marchais and Derek Boyer of the bands Deeds of Flesh and Decrepit Birth on bass. 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. In 2007, the band was featured in The History Channel's promotional video for The Dark Ages documentary, playing the song "Bind, Torture, Kill".
In 2008, the band signed to the German Nuclear Blast Records and released their album Blood Oath in 2009. The album charted on the US Billboard 200 at number 135. 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. The release of a documentary film Legacy of Violence was set for 2010, but has since been delayed. In May 2010, Suffocation toured with Napalm Death in South America and Mexico. In February, 2012, Smith left the band again, to be replaced by Dave Culross.
Since after the release of Pinnacle of Bedlam in 2013, Lead 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, and, currently, Disgorge (US) drummer, 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.
Musical style and legacy
Suffocation's technical 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" and frequent breakdowns.
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, retaining their style after the reunion in 2003. 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."
Blabbermouth.net described Suffocation as "American death metal's most consistent and punishing standard-bearers" and their style as "brutal death metal". According to AllMusic, Mullen is one of the best vocalists in death metal. Decibel Magazine stated: "One of Suffocation’s trademarks, breakdowns, has spawned an entire metal subgenre: deathcore."
- Studio albums
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions||Sales|
|Effigy of the Forgotten||
|Breeding the Spawn||
|Pierced from Within||
|Souls to Deny||
|Pinnacle of Bedlam||
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
- Live albums
|Close of a Chapter: Live in Québec City||
- Split albums
- Extended plays
|Despise the Sun||
- Compilation albums
|The Best of Suffocation||
|2004||"Surgery of Impalement"||Adam Wingard||Souls to Deny|
|2005||"Synthetically Revived"||Adam Wingard||Human Waste|
|2006||"Abomination Reborn"||Frankie Nasso||Suffocation|
|2009||"Cataclysmic Purification"||David Brodsky||Blood Oath|
|2013||"As Grace Descends"||Tommy Jones||Pinnacle of Bedlam|
- Stewart-Panko, Kevin (May 2009). "The Memory Remains: The Making of Suffocation's Effigy of the Forgotten". Decibel Magazine.
- John Bush, Suffocation, AllMusic.
- Suffocation history at official Suffocation Myspace.
- Leslie Mathew, Pierced from Within, AllMusic.
- Suffocation: New Audio Interview with Frank Mullen Posted Online - Feb. 7, 2007, Blabbermouth.net.
- Suffocation Frontman Talks New Album - Mar. 30, 2009, Blabbermouth.net.
- Suffocation's 'Blood Oath' Lands on Billboard Chart - July 22, 2009, Blabbermouth.net.
- Stewart-Panko, Kevin (February 2010). "Suffocation; Close of a Chapter—Live in Québec City". Decibel Magazine.
- Scott Alisoglu, The Close of a Chapter: Live in Quebec City, Blabbermouth.net.
- Suffocation: 'Legacy of Violence' DVD Preview Available - Jan. 8, 2010, Blabbermouth.net.
- Suffocation Announces Mexico/South America Tour with Napalm Death - Oct. 26, 2009, Blabbermouth.net.
- Suffocation Confirms Split With Drummer Mike Smith, Taps Dave Culross As Permanent Replacement . Blabbermouth.net.
- Suffocation: New Album Details Revealed - Sep. 20, 2012, Blabbermouth.net.
- Kennelty, Greg (January 16, 2015). "SUFFOCATION Demoing A New Record - Metal Injection". Metal Injection. Retrieved June 1, 2015.
- Eduardo Rivadavia, Effigy of the Forgotten, AllMusic.
- Lee, Cosmo (September 2009). "Suffocation reclaim their rightful place as kings of death metal". Decibel Magazine.
One of Suffocation's trademarks, breakdowns, has spawned an entire metal subgenre: deathcore
- Eduardo Rivadavia, Breeding the Spawn, AllMusic.
- William York, Souls to Deny, AllMusic.
- Greg Prato, Suffocation, AllMusic.
- Alex Henderson, Blood Oath, AllMusic.
- Keith Bergman, Suffocation Suffocation (Relapse), Blabbermouth.net.
- "Suffocation - Chart history". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "Offizielle Deutsche Charts". Officialcharts.de. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "Ultratop Belgian Charts". Ultratop.be. 2013-03-16. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "Ultratop Belgian Charts". Ultratop.be. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "iTunes - Music - Effigy of the Forgotten by Suffocation". Itunes.apple.com. 1991-10-07. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "iTunes - Music - Breeding the Spawn by Suffocation". Itunes.apple.com. 1993-05-24. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "iTunes - Music - Pierced from Within by Suffocation". Itunes.apple.com. 1995-05-22. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "iTunes - Music - Souls to Deny by Suffocation". Itunes.apple.com. 2004-04-27. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "iTunes - Music - Suffocation by Suffocation". Itunes.apple.com. 2006-09-19. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "iTunes - Music - Blood Oath (Exclusive Bonus Version) by Suffocation". Itunes.apple.com. 2009-07-14. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "Metal By Numbers 8/12: The Chart Gets (ass)Jacked". Metalinsider.net. 2009-08-12. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "iTunes - Music - Pinnacle of Bedlam by Suffocation". Itunes.apple.com. 2013-02-19. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "Metal By Numbers 5/1: Rob Zombie Rats Out the Charts". Metalinsider.net. 2013-05-01. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "iTunes - Music - The Close of a Chapter: Live by Suffocation". Itunes.apple.com. 2009-10-27. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "Suffocation Announces Mexico/South America Tour With Napalm Death". Blabbermouth.net. 2009-10-26. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "iTunes - Music - Human Waste (Reissue) by Suffocation". Itunes.apple.com. 1991-05-01. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "iTunes - Music - Despise The Sun - EP by Suffocation". Itunes.apple.com. 2002-04-30. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "iTunes - Music - The Best of Suffocation by Suffocation". Itunes.apple.com. 2008-01-08. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "Suffocation | Surgery of Impalement | Music Video". Mtv.com. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "Suffocation | Synthetically Revived | Music Video". youtube.com. Retrieved 2016-04-14.
- "Suffocation: 'Abomination Reborn' Video Posted Online". Blabbermouth.net. 2006-11-27. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "Suffocation: 'Cataclysmic Purification' Video Released". Blabbermouth.net. 2009-11-13. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
- "Suffocation: 'As Grace Descends' Video Released". Blabbermouth.net. 2013-02-22. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
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