Long Islanders Suffocation are Death Metal pioneers and their 1991 debut record Effigy of the Forgotten introduced a complex writing style and pinpoint precision to the genre, and put in place a blueprint for others moving forward. Although, no one since has been able to deliver the pure brutality as that of Suffocation, especially live. In 2014, Suffocation joined the likes of Barbra Streisand, Billy Joel, Eddie Money, and Whodini in the Long Island Music Hall of Fame, a tremendous accomplishment for a Death Metal band, even one as talented as Suffocation. On Saturday August 22nd, they returned home and delivered brutal Technical Death Metal before heading overseas for a few dates in Poland and on to Berlin, Germany, where they will join Nile on tour. For this show, they assembled a murderers row of local Metal bands to set the stage for their return. Anubis, Get Ignorant, Artificial Brain, and Extinction A.D. were tapped for support.
The first look at the opener, Anubis, revealed two shapely figures wrapped in gold on either side of the stage. The figures gently swayed back and forth as the two piece band took the stage. The gods, Anubis on guitar and Typhon on vocals, adorned in golden armor, Anubis wearing a long black cape, appeared to a dramatic Egyptian intro. As they began to play, the writhing figures revealed themselves to be veiled dancing girls. The band played Egyptian themed Metal to great effect as the two piece enjoyed help from prerecorded tracks, but showed solid writing and interesting visuals. Their set garnered a lot of attention as people gathered to see what was happening on stage.
Get Ignorant came from Patchogue, New York performing Long Island Beatdown Slam Metal. Singer, Pete to the point, was in complete control of the room as the band started with a clipped version of “Sweet Leaf” before stomping into an original tune. Songs like “Pass The Blunt,” “Loose Lips,” “I Like,” and “Frontline” covered a wide array of subjects conveyed with energy and interesting songwriting. The crowd responded to the band by slamming in the pit. Guitarists Tom Hanrahan and Vinny, along with Bassist Aaron Harris and Drummer Mike Leandro played a strong set holding the crowd until the end and their version of Pantera’s “Domination” closed the set strong.
Profound Lore recording artist Artificial Brain was up next. Riding the wave of success from last years Labyrinth Constellation, this product of Valley Stream, New York came out hard, blasting complex Death Metal to the eager crowd. Showing a true discipline, the band was tight as they followed the lead of Drummer Keith Abrami and Bassist Samuel Smith. Guitarists Jon Locastro and Dan Gargiulo (Revocation) showed great technical prowess as they played tight, fast riffs and leads. Will Smith wound up the crowd as he added his unique vocal style, solidifying the band. The pit churned beneath them as they delivered wave after concussive wave of original material. Artificial Brain is an exciting Death Metal experience. Watch this band closely.
Moving along, this show marks the release of Faithkiller, the newest offering from Extinction A.D. Vocalist and Guitarist Rick Jimenez, Guitarist Christian Beale, with Drummer Mike Sciulara and Bassist Pieter Van den Berg combined for an aggressive and powerful live sound with tremendous energy. Jimenez stepped up immediately and called on the crowd, and the crowd responded. A thrashing opener set the tone as Jimenez and Beale produced heavy riffs in unison and Sciulara was solid and fast, transitioning easily between changes in feel and tempo. Van den Berg supplied thick bass with precision and speed, locking in with Sciulara. The pace stayed high and the energy grew, the pit churned and the band laid out track after track from their latest. “Instruments of Death” and “Rot in Pain” were standout tracks along with the title track “Faithkiller.” Extinction A.D. drew tremendous energy from the crowd, who threw fists up and remained active in the pit throughout the show. Their latest release has received quite a bit of positive feedback. Look for it everywhere.
Suffocation looked out into the huge gathering that awaited them. Many faces in the fiercely loyal crowd seemed familiar to them, many having been there from the beginning. Frank Mullen, microphone in hand, smiled as he peered out. Addressing the audience, he thanked them for coming to the show and asked if they were ready. Their response signaled the beginning of “Effigy Of The Forgotten” from their first record of the same name. This 1991 release was a groundbreaking record for the genre due to it is highly technical nature. Guitarists Terrance Hobbs and Guy Marchais churned out complex progressions, and Bassist Derek Boyer displayed intricate fret work complementing the heavy riffs. At the end of the song, Mullen asked the crowd what they thought. The crowd erupted and Mullen continued, “We could probably get on America’s Got Talent with this shit, right ?” He talked about being back home, and the early days of writing, asking Hobbs, “Do you remember how to play “Rye Bread,” reciting the lyrics, “I don’t want no rye, we don’t want no toast.” Hobbs played it and pointed to his head, saying, yeah, I still remember. The crowd, still laughing from the lyrics, listened intently, loving the peek inside the band. Mullen also talked about playing a nearby bar called East of Eden back in the day. It was apparent that Mullen had a special rapport with the audience.
Next, the band reached back to before Effigy Of The Forgotten, to the Human Waste EP and pulled out “Catatonia.” Mullen stood over the crowd with an evil grin, quickly chopping the air with his left hand, delivering a guttural gnarr. At the end, Mullen talked about touring and how he was taking a step back from the grind of it. The announcement drew disapproval from all. He brought out Ricky Myers (Disgorge) and announced that Myers would be touring in his place. Mullen continued, “I’m entitled to sit home on my couch and watch the Dallas Cowboys.” Boos rose up and he snapped back, “The Giants fucking suck,” and walked off the stage. The crowd even loved that. Myers thanked Mullen and the crowd for the opportunity and began “Breeding The Spawn” from 1993 album of the same name. A more imposing figure, Myers handled his new responsibility well and treated the audience to his unique and powerful style. All gathered welcomed him and gave him a huge ovation when he was finished.
Mullen returned, saying, “I like fighting and I like killing on a Saturday night!” Hobbs began “As Grace Descends” and Drummer Kevin Talley delivered crushing blast beats and precision transitions throughout the complex arrangement. The pit swirled and grew as Hobbs and Marchais traded blistering leads, before tearing back into the meat of the song, finishing with Mullen growling at the crowd. He introduced the next song as a love song, a ballad. A song that you could sing to a loved one, as you slice them open in a bathtub and play with their entrails, this is “Entrails Of You” off their 1996 self-titled album. The band was razor sharp, executing high speed precision and complexity in an environment of chaos which they themselves created. The floor moved violently and slowed for a moment as Hobbs heralded a heavy breakdown, bending and pulling chords before the rest joined him. The pit sped up as the music slowed yet synced up perfectly.
“Dismal Dream,” from 2009’s Blood Oath, and the title track from 1995’s Pierced From Within, along with “Seeds Of The Suffering,” maintained the violence and kept the energy high in the room. After nearly an hour of non-stop brutality, those gathered called for more. The band delivered “Abomination Reborn,” also from Suffocation, their fifth studio release. When it was done, Mullen once again offered his thoughts, this time on religion, saying it is all bullshit, as the preachers convince us that they need that Ferrari to reach the lord faster. “Jesus Wept” followed. Boyer played his bass nearly upright as his fingers glided over the fretboard with lightning speed. Talley remained tightly linked to him, his hands flying wildly around the drum kit with controlled definition. “Purgatorial Punishment” and “Infecting the Crypts” closed the show. A nearly spent crowd looked on as Mullen announced that Suffocation is in the studio writing new material and to look for it at some point in the future. The still packed house cheered loudly as the band left the stage.
An absolutely brutal night of Metal went down at Revolution Bar & Music Hall. All bands destroyed, and the crowd responded. The headliner put on a performance that will not soon be forgotten, Suffocation continues to show all who perform how it is done. They are a must see.