SUFFOCATION
Brutal Death Metal • United States

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Suffocation is an American death metal band that was formed in 1989 in 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.

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 "sophisticated" sense of songwriting. Their debut, Effigy of the Forgotten, is considered a classic by most, topping the charts of many fans' "all-time favorites" lists. Also worth noting is their debut EP, Human Waste, which was the first official release on relapse records in 1991.

The band went through a few member changes before briefly disbanding after their release,
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Effigy of the ForgottenEffigy of the Forgotten
Import
Imports 1992
Audio CD$8.72
$5.50 (used)
Pierced From WithinPierced From Within
Roadrunner Records 1995
Audio CD$107.11
$35.96 (used)
Breeding the SpawnBreeding the Spawn
Import
Imports 1993
Audio CD$11.19
$15.99 (used)
SuffocationSuffocation
Relapse 2006
Audio CD$6.59
$5.59 (used)
Souls to DenySouls to Deny
Relapse 2005
Audio CD$13.50
$2.87 (used)
Blood OathBlood Oath
Nuclear Blast America 2012
Audio CD$6.81
$9.91 (used)
Pinnacle of Bedlam (reg cd)Pinnacle of Bedlam (reg cd)
Nuclear Blast America 2013
Audio CD$7.10
$8.99 (used)
Human WasteHuman Waste
Relapse 2005
Audio CD$13.41
$7.53 (used)
Effigy of the Forgotten / Pierced From WithinEffigy of the Forgotten / Pierced From Within
Roadrunner Records 2003
Audio CD$120.83
$25.94 (used)
Close of Chapter: Live in Quebec CityClose of Chapter: Live in Quebec City
Import
Imports 2011
Audio CD$9.18
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SUFFOCATION Discography

SUFFOCATION albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.94 | 17 ratings
Effigy of the Forgotten
Brutal Death Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 3.61 | 13 ratings
Breeding the Spawn
Brutal Death Metal 1993
.. Album Cover 3.94 | 18 ratings
Pierced From Within
Brutal Death Metal 1995
.. Album Cover 3.87 | 9 ratings
Souls to Deny
Brutal Death Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 3.74 | 8 ratings
Suffocation
Brutal Death Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 3.88 | 11 ratings
Blood Oath
Brutal Death Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 3.78 | 13 ratings
Pinnacle of Bedlam
Brutal Death Metal 2013

SUFFOCATION EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 3.62 | 6 ratings
Human Waste
Brutal Death Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Live Death
Brutal Death Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 4.05 | 3 ratings
Despise the Sun
Brutal Death Metal 1998

SUFFOCATION live albums

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Close of a Chapter
Brutal Death Metal 2006

SUFFOCATION demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Reincremated
Brutal Death Metal 1990

SUFFOCATION re-issues & compilations

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Suffocation
Brutal Death Metal 2008

SUFFOCATION singles (1)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Surgery of Impalement
Brutal Death Metal 2004

SUFFOCATION movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

SUFFOCATION Reviews

SUFFOCATION Pierced From Within

Album · 1995 · Brutal Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
"Suffocation" is, in and of itself, a great name for a death metal band - because not only does it suggest death, but it suggests a really horrible death, a frantic struggle for breath which is denied to you, a method of killing which doesn't even break the skin and yet is terrible to imagine experiencing nonetheless.

Apt, then, that Suffocation's Pierced From Within should have such an absolutely smothering sound, unleashing brutal attack after brutal attack against the listener without giving you room to breathe. This can be off-putting if you aren't in the right mood for the soul-shattering brutal death assault of your life, but for when you want to be sonically beaten into a pulp for 45 minutes, it really hits the spot.

SUFFOCATION Pinnacle of Bedlam

Album · 2013 · Brutal Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Pinnacle of Bedlam" is the 7th full-length studio album by US, New York based death metal act Suffocation. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in February 2013. There´s been a lineup change since "Blood Oath (2009)" as drummer Mike Smith has left to be replaced by Dave Culross (mostly known for his long stint with Malevolent Creation). It´s the second time the latter is involved with Suffocation as he also layed down the drum tracks on the "Despise the Sun (1998)" EP. The rest of the lineup who recorded "Blood Oath (2009)" are intact.

From the first notes of the opening track "Cycles Of Suffering", it´s abundantly clear that Suffocation have not slowed down or become less brutal, nor have they any intention of taking any prisoners this time around. It´s not like it´s a surprise, but I´m still greatly impressed by these guys every time they release a new album. While "Sullen Days" (which is also one of the highlight of the album) is the only track on the album that I consider slightly innovative in terms of sounding different from the band´s trademark sound, and lack of innovation is usually considered a negative trade, Suffocation have over the years proven to be an exception to that rule. They are proof that no matter how "retro" sounding music you play, it´s all about how you deliver the music and how skilled you are as a composer. And that´s where Suffocation excel. The music on "Pinnacle of Bedlam" does sound slightly more contemporary/current than most of the band´s output, but that is probably mostly due to the sound production (some of the breakdowns also have a deathcore touch).

The playing is as always on a high technical level. Precision breaks, multible tempo changes (including blast beats, über heavy breakdowns and everything in between), blistering solo work and those sub woofer deep growls courtesy of Frank Mullen. Tracks like the above mentioned "Sullen Days", "Cycles Of Suffering" and the title track are killer death metal, and while not all tracks on the album stand out equally much, they are all on a high compositional level and delivered with a rawness and brutality that few can rival. As usual Suffocation have opted to re-record a track from "Breeding the Spawn (1993)" in "Beginning of Sorrow" (they´ve re-recorded tracks off that album several times throughout the years). Mike Smith makes a guest appearance on "Beginning of Sorrow".

"Pinnacle of Bedlam" is yet another great death metal album by Suffocation. While there have been a few tiny bumps in the band´s discography, this is a band that cannot fail. If you in any way enjoy brutal technical death metal, "Pinnacle of Bedlam" is an album of the highest caliber in that style. While I personally feel the more clear sounding contemporary production doesn´t fit Suffocation´s music as well as the more raw productions of earlier releases by the band, it´s arguably a powerful and professional sound, which I´m sure many others will praise greatly, so my minor issue with the production values is pretty surely an aquired taste. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

SUFFOCATION Blood Oath

Album · 2009 · Brutal Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Blood Oath" is the 6th full-length studio album by US death metal act Suffocation. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in July 2009. It´s the successor to the eponymously titled album from 2006. Suffocation for once had a pretty stable lineup and there have been no changes in personale between the two releases. Almost as usual the band have opted to re-record a track from "Breeding the Spawn (1993)" in "Marital Decimation" (they´ve done this several times in the past). The remaining tracks are new original material.

Stylistically the material on "Blood Oath" continues the ultra brutal sound and technically well played death metal style that Suffocation are known for. This time around it´s like they´ve changed things up a bit though, as it´s like there are more memorable moments and even a bit more melody present than usual for the band. One of the greatest assets on "Blood Oath" are the many well played guitar solos. I don´t recall hearing this many guitar solos on any other album release by the band up until "Blood Oath". Über brutal yet sligthly intelligible growling vocals by Frank Mullen, intricate and fast guitar riffing spiced up with some really brutal and heavy breakdowns, technical drumming featuring multible tempo changes and breaks, and a delightfully clicky sounding and high in the mix bass that provides an extra dimension to the music rarely heard in death metal. The sound production is raw, brutal, and simply spot on and brings out the best in the music.

Usually a Suffocation album demands many spins and full attention before hooks and highlights begin to appear. "Blood Oath" is no different in that respect, but tracks like "Provoking the Disturbed" and the title track stood out almost immediately and as mentioned above, the material is generally slightly more catchy than anything Suffocation had produced up until then. If you are familiar with the band´s discography you´ll know that Suffocation have pretty much stuck to their guns throughout their career. In many ways "Blood Oath" gives you more of the same but with a little extra in terms of more variation and stylistic details that help the music sound fresh and inspired, and which makes "Blood Oath" stand out a bit in the band´s discography. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

SUFFOCATION Suffocation

Album · 2006 · Brutal Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Suffocation" is the self-titled 5th full-length studio album (and the 2nd album since their comeback with "Souls to Deny (2004)") by US death metal act Suffocation. The album was released through Relapse Records in September 2006. The live album "The Close of a Chapter (2005)" was released in between "Souls to Deny (2004)" and this album. There´s been one lineup change since "Souls to Deny (2004)" as bassist Derek Boyer has joined Suffocation on a permanent basis.

The band have chosen to produce the album themselves (with the help of engineer/mixer Joe Cincotta) which has resulted in a slightly less brutal sound compared to "Souls to Deny (2004)". Of course Suffocation have always belonged to the most brutal part of the death metal genre, so even though the sound on this album is slightly less brutal than on the predecessor, the general sound of the music hasn´t changed much. Technically well played brutal death metal designed to maim and kill. Frank Mullen still sounds like he has just risen from the grave with his commanding deep growls and the instrumental part of the music is as usual delivered with militant precision and attention to detail (breaks, tempo changes...etc.).

Variation is a word seldom used when describing a Suffocation album and the same applies here. The tracks are pretty hard to tell apart even after many spins, but patience is rewarded, and details and memorable hooks begin to appear (an intelligible phrase here and a catchy rhythm pattern there). Personally I adore the old school sound of a track like "Entrails of You" but there are several other great tracks on the album (The two video tracks "Abomination Reborn" and "Bind Torture Kill" are also among the highlights), and the quality of the material is generally very high. Once again the band have re-recorded a track from "Breeding the Spawn (1993)" in "Prelude to Repulsion". The Japanese version of the album features another re-recording from "Breeding the Spawn (1993)" in the bonus track "Anomalistic Offerings".

So upon conclusion "Suffocation" is another high quality death metal album by the band. Brutal compositions, high level musicianship, and a well sounding and powerful production which sets the album apart from the other releases in their discography. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

SUFFOCATION Souls to Deny

Album · 2004 · Brutal Death Metal
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UMUR
"Souls to Deny" is the 4th full-length studio album by US death metal act Suffocation. The album was released through Relapse Records in April 2004. It´s the band´s first studio recording since the "Despise the Sun" EP from 1998. Suffocation disbanded shortly after the release of "Despise the Sun (1998)", so "Souls to Deny" is what you can call a comeback album. Since the release of "Despise the Sun (1998)", original drummer Mike Smith has returned to the fold replacing Dave Culross, and guitarist Guy Marchais replaces Doug Cerrito. Bassist Chris Richards has not been replaced and the bass on the album is therefore handled by Mike Smith and guitarist Terrance Hobbs. The vocals are as usual delivered by Frank Mullen.

Not much have changed while the band have had their break and if you´re familiar with the band´s previous releases and in particular "Pierced From Within (1995)" and "Despise the Sun (1998)", you´ll pretty much know what to expect from "Souls to Deny". The music on the album more or less continues the trademark technical brutal death metal style that Suffocation have practiced since day one. The technical level of playing is very high with multible tempo changes, breaks, and generally just fast as hell instrumental work. Of course as usual the band don´t neglect to crush their listeners with some ultra heavy breakdowns and mid-paced brutal grooves, so the music isn´t one-dimensionally fast-paced all the time. In fact the tracks are pretty complex in structure.

The complexity is exemplified well by a track like "Immortally Condemned", which features both mid- to fast paced death metal grooves, fast blasting sections, and ultra heavy breakdowns played over the course of the multible sections featured in the track. Along with the title track and "Deceit" (which is strangely melodically oriented compared to the band´s usual sound), "Immortally Condemned" is one of the highlights of the album. One of the assets of "Souls to Deny" is the remarkable consistency and quality of the material though, so I could name any track off the album and call it high quality US death metal.

The fact that the sound production is powerful, crushingly brutal, and heavy, and that the brutal growling vocals by Frank Mullen add even more dark brutality to the album, are also assets that deserve a mention. This is the sound of a band who know exactly what their strengths are, who are confident in themselves, and who are capable of making the most of those strengths. Suffocation once again prove that they are kings of the technical brutal death metal style and "Souls to Deny" fully deserves a 4 star (80%) rating.

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