Suffocation is an American death metal band that was formed in 1989 in Long Island, New York. The band comprises vocalist Frank Mullen, guitarists Terrance Hobbs and Guy Marchais, drummer Mike Smith 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 released six studio albums since its formation. They are also somewhat notorious for having two African-American band members, something uncommon in the metal genre.
The band's grindcore-influenced technical death metal style uses guttural vocals with a bottom-heavy guitar sound; complex, fast guitar riffs and drumming, and a sophisticated sense of songwriting.
Early years and the 1990s era (1989–1998)Suffocation was formed in 1989 in 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, 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, influenced by fellow death metal bands and Napalm Death or Sepultura. Smith commented on meeting Hobbs for the first time: "That’s where I first noticed, "Wow, there’s 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. 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 substantially 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)Dying Fetus 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 latest album Blood Oath in 2009. 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 is set for 2010. In May, Suffocation toured with Napalm Death in South America and Mexico.
Musical style and legacySuffocation'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, created a blueprint for the genre for the 1990s, retaining their typical style after the reunion in 2000's. 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." According to Allmusic, Mullen is one of the best vocalists in death metal. Suffocation also influenced the creation of the deathcore subgenre.
- Current members