SUFFOCATION
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$9.30
$9.29 (used)
Pinnacle of BedlamPinnacle of Bedlam
Nuclear Blast Americ 2013
Audio CD$5.26
$4.23 (used)
Blood OathBlood Oath
Nuclear Blast Americ 2009
Audio CD$4.62
$3.32 (used)
Despise the SunDespise the Sun
Relapse 2002
Audio CD$7.73
$4.49 (used)
Breeding the SpawnBreeding the Spawn
Import
Imports 1993
Audio CD$9.40
$12.13 (used)
SuffocationSuffocation
MRI 2006
Audio CD$2.01
$6.49 (used)
Effigy of the Forgotten / Pierced From WithinEffigy of the Forgotten / Pierced From Within
Roadrunner Records 2003
Audio CD$120.89
$35.99 (used)
Souls to DenySouls to Deny
MRI 2004
Audio CD$8.22
$3.58 (used)
Close of a ChapterClose of a Chapter
Relapse 2009
Audio CD$4.51
$4.50 (used)
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SUFFOCATION Discography

SUFFOCATION albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.68 | 15 ratings
Effigy of the Forgotten
Death Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 3.35 | 12 ratings
Breeding the Spawn
Death Metal 1993
.. Album Cover 3.59 | 16 ratings
Pierced From Within
Death Metal 1995
.. Album Cover 4.20 | 7 ratings
Souls to Deny
Death Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 3.51 | 7 ratings
Suffocation
Death Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 3.96 | 9 ratings
Blood Oath
Death Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 3.81 | 10 ratings
Pinnacle of Bedlam
Death Metal 2013

SUFFOCATION EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 3.62 | 6 ratings
Human Waste
Death Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Live Death
Death Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 4.50 | 3 ratings
Despise the Sun
Death Metal 1998

SUFFOCATION live albums

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

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

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

SUFFOCATION boxset & compilations

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

SUFFOCATION singles (1)

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

SUFFOCATION movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

SUFFOCATION Reviews

SUFFOCATION Pierced From Within

Album · 1995 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Vim Fuego
There are some bands which are supposedly above criticism. In the realm of classic rock, Led Zeppelin is beyond reproach, in black metal it's Darkthrone, and grindcore has classic Carcass. There is a band in brutal death metal circles spoken of with the same reverence by a majority of fans of the genre- Suffocation. The story goes if you don't like this band, then you don't really like brutal death metal.

All the ingredients for a good sound are there. Suffocation are undeniably brutal. All the musicians involved in the band have always been highly technically proficient. Their sound has never been anything but utterly crushing and extreme. Somehow, it still doesn't work.

So you slip this album on, and within seconds the deathly bludgeoning of the title track begins. Suffocation create huge walls of deathly noise, while vocalist Frank Mullen vomits forth a tale of unimaginable gore and violence. The sound is incredibly tight and precise, able to stop on a pinhead, before exploding forth like a pack of pneumatic drills set on kill.

And then onto "Thrones Of Blood". The band create huge walls of deathly noise, while vocalist Frank Mullen vomits forth a tale of unimaginable gore and violence. The sound is incredibly tight and precise, able to stop on a pinhead, before exploding forth like a pack of pneumatic drills set on kill.

And then to "Depths Of Depravity". The band create huge walls of deathly noise, while vocalist Frank Mullen vomits forth a tale of unimaginable... Hang on, it's not so unimaginable now. This is the third time in a row the same turgid riffs, the same rhythms, the same damn song has appeared.

Yes, Suffocation are brutal, extreme, heavy, or whatever else you want to call them. However, they utterly suck at writing songs which are actually distinguishable from one another. Brutal death metal is an extremely restrictive genre. As one of the originators of the sound, Suffocation are responsible for setting many of the boundaries of the genre, but here seem content to sit in the middle of them without pushing anything. Even on a first listen, this is utterly predictable. It is possible to sit through a song and say to yourself "OK, the vocals are going to start here, the double kick drums are going to start here, and everything is going to stop then restart right here", and it happens.

This album seems sterile and uninventive. There is little to offer which has not been done before. Do yourself a favour and avoid.

SUFFOCATION Pinnacle of Bedlam

Album · 2013 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
J-Man
If the American death metal veterans in Suffocation have done one thing right over the years, it's their ability to consistently deliver some of the most brutal, technical, and downright impressive extreme music out there. Although they could be legitimately criticized for remaining rather stagnant throughout their lengthy career, one thing remains abundantly clear on Pinnacle of Bedlam - even after twenty five years in the business, Suffocation is still able to churn out some of the best technical death metal on the scene today. The band doesn't offer too many new ideas on their seventh full-length album, but the quality is held to such an impeccable standard that it's difficult not to be blown away.

From most perspectives, Pinnacle of Bedlam is nothing new under the sun for Suffocation. One could argue that the album sounds more modern than the band's other works thanks to its sleek sound production, but I think that's a rather minor detail in the grand scheme of things - this is the old school Suffocation that everybody has come to know and love from start to finish, which means that brutal American death metal with a strong technical edge should be expected. Suffocation doesn't give its listeners very many times to catch their breath, as almost the entire album is characterized by devastating riffs, frantic lead guitar work, and speedy drum fills. Plenty of heavy grooves are worked into the mix alongside the frenzied blast beats and tempo changes, though, so lack of variation is never an issue. While this style of music often strikes me as lacking in dynamics and subtlety, Suffocation has always amazed me with their ability to stay faithful to this style while still retaining a high level of memorability, and this is certainly the case on Pinnacle of Bedlam.

Some of the band's best songs ever penned, like the killer opening track "Cycles of Suffering" and the especially wonderful "Sullen Days" (this one finds the band incorporating a few melodic ideas into their work - pretty damn cool!), are on Pinnacle of Bedlam; the entire album is intense as hell, though, so listeners shouldn't expect any monotony to set in while giving this one a spin. When all is said and done, Pinnacle of Bedlam is yet another top-notch observation in Suffocation's discography, and while it would be cool to hear the band attempt something radically different next time around, I will be perfectly happy if they keep churning out records of this quality time and time again. Pinnacle of Bedlam is simply a must-have for any technical death metal fan!

SUFFOCATION Pinnacle of Bedlam

Album · 2013 · 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 that 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, neither have they any intention of taking 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.

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 they all kick some serious ass.

"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 in that style of the highest caliber, and it comes highly recommended by me. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

SUFFOCATION Pinnacle of Bedlam

Album · 2013 · Death Metal
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Kev Rowland
Well, four years have passed since the release of ‘Blood Oath’ but it doesn’t sounds as if the guys have planned on mellowing out any time soon. The album also marks the return of drummer Dave Culross, who played with the band previously on their ‘Despise The Sun’ EP while founding member and former drummer Mike Smith also makes a special guest appearance on the re-recorded ‘Breeding the Spawn’ (which amazingly came out 20 years ago now!) track, “Beginning of Sorrow.” Here we have ten songs of sheer brutality that put bands half their age to shame, how do they keep delivering the goods after so long?

This is solid death metal, something that can be played at full blast knowing that there is nothing here that will disappoint. While the band produced the album, it was mixed and mastered by Zeuss (Hatebreed, Arsis, Suicide Silence etc) and the sound reminds me of the touch of Colin Richardson. The guys have been doing this since 1989 (with the odd rest and line-up change inbetween), and long may it continue. Instantly recognizable as Suffocation they have mixed it up a bit and have brought their material more into the present day, and the album benefits from that approach. This is not one you can really miss out on. www.nuclearblast.de

SUFFOCATION Blood Oath

Album · 2009 · Death Metal
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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.

After the somewhat standard quality yet still strong "Suffocation (2006)", I think "Blood Oath" is a step up for Suffocation. To my ears "Blood Oath" sounds inspired and slightly more adventurous than "Suffocation (2006)". It´s like the band have really tried hard to make their music more memorable and varied while still maintaining their ultra brutal sound and technical playing style. 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". The "trademark" Suffocation sound is still intact though. 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 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 imidiately. All tracks are of high quality though.

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. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.

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