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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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SUFFOCATION albums / top albums

SUFFOCATION Effigy of the Forgotten album cover 3.99 | 28 ratings
Effigy of the Forgotten
Brutal Death Metal 1991
SUFFOCATION Breeding the Spawn album cover 3.28 | 22 ratings
Breeding the Spawn
Brutal Death Metal 1993
SUFFOCATION Pierced From Within album cover 4.05 | 32 ratings
Pierced From Within
Brutal Death Metal 1995
SUFFOCATION Souls to Deny album cover 3.89 | 15 ratings
Souls to Deny
Brutal Death Metal 2004
SUFFOCATION Suffocation album cover 3.67 | 17 ratings
Brutal Death Metal 2006
SUFFOCATION Blood Oath album cover 3.83 | 16 ratings
Blood Oath
Brutal Death Metal 2009
SUFFOCATION Pinnacle of Bedlam album cover 3.90 | 17 ratings
Pinnacle of Bedlam
Brutal Death Metal 2013
SUFFOCATION ...Of The Dark Light album cover 4.22 | 10 ratings
...Of The Dark Light
Brutal Death Metal 2017
SUFFOCATION Hymns from the Apocrypha album cover 3.88 | 4 ratings
Hymns from the Apocrypha
Brutal Death Metal 2023


SUFFOCATION Human Waste album cover 4.03 | 11 ratings
Human Waste
Brutal Death Metal 1991
SUFFOCATION Live Death album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Live Death
Brutal Death Metal 1994
SUFFOCATION Despise the Sun album cover 4.21 | 9 ratings
Despise the Sun
Brutal Death Metal 1998

SUFFOCATION live albums

SUFFOCATION The Close of a Chapter album cover 3.79 | 3 ratings
The Close of a Chapter
Brutal Death Metal 2006
SUFFOCATION Live in North America album cover 4.25 | 4 ratings
Live in North America
Brutal Death Metal 2021

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

SUFFOCATION Reincremated album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Brutal Death Metal 1990

SUFFOCATION re-issues & compilations

SUFFOCATION The Best of Suffocation album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Suffocation
Brutal Death Metal 2008

SUFFOCATION singles (1)

.. Album Cover
3.50 | 1 ratings
Surgery of Impalement
Brutal Death Metal 2004

SUFFOCATION movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)


SUFFOCATION Hymns from the Apocrypha

Album · 2023 · Brutal Death Metal
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"Hymns from the Apocrypha" is the ninth full-length studio album by US, New York based death metal act Suffocation. The album was released through Nuclear Blast in November 2023. It´s the successor to "...Of The Dark Light" (Nuclear Blast, June 2017), although the two full-length studio albums are bridged by the November 2021 "Live in North America" live album. "Live in North America" is a live album marking a significant change in the history of Suffocation, as it´s a recording of original lead vocalist Frank Mullen´s last show from October 2018 before he retired from Suffocation. He is replaced on "Hymns from the Apocrypha" by Ricky Myers. Myers who is also known as the drummer of Disgorge, had been touring with Suffocation in the periods 2014-2016, 2018-2019, as Mullen already at that point couldn´t dedicate enough time to Suffocation anymore. Myers for example did all European shows in those periods. So choosing Myers as the replacement for the legendary Mullen was of course a no-brainer.

Stylistically the material on "Hymns from the Apocrypha" is no surprise if you´re familiar with the preceding releases by Suffocation. If they´ve evolved since the last album it´s details, and Suffocation still sounds unmistakably like they´ve pretty much done since their inception in the early 90s. Brutal/technical death metal featuring multible breaks, changes of pace, brutal thrash oriented riffing, a high level of technical playing, and a brutality level way over the average for the genre. Myers does a good job replacing Mullen although the latter did have a more personal and distinct sounding growling style. The music is spiced up with the occasional lead guitar moment (which are nice for the variation and they are well done too), but as always it´s all about producing the most heavy and brutal music around.

Back when Suffocation first emerged there was pretty much no competition (at least not anyone able to match their level of brutality), but a lot of water has run under the bridge since then, and today brutal/technical death metal bands come a dime a dozen. So in that respect "Hymns from the Apocrypha" isn´t anymore brutal than a lot of other contemporary bands and releases, but Suffocation have the advantage of experience and writing this type of music for 30 years, and when you listen to the album those factors are audible. As on most Suffocation releases variation between tracks is a slight issue, but it´s to be expected with music as brutal as this.

As it´s almost become custom on Suffocation´s releases (starting already on "Pierced from Within" from 1995) they´ve also this time around re-recorded a song from their second album "Breeding the Spawn" (1993) and included it on the tracklist (with Mullen guesting on vocals). This time "Ignorant Deprivation". It may seem odd for a death metal band to re-record tracks from a particular album and include them on the tracklists on several of their subsequent releases (instead of just re-recording the full album and release it, if they feel so bad about the original sound production), but Suffocation have always been able to include the re-recorded tracks in a seamless way and make them fit perfectly with the new original material. It´s pretty much just another testimony to the fact that Suffocation have stayed true to their roots and their sound throughout their career.

"Hymns from the Apocrypha" features a powerful, sharp, and detailed sound production, and although my ears don´t always agree with the clicky metallic bass sound, that´s a subjective observation, and objectively this is a good quality sound production. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

SUFFOCATION Live in North America

Live album · 2021 · Brutal Death Metal
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"Live in North America" is a live album release by US death metal act Suffocation. The album was released through Nuclear Blast in November 2021 and features the full Suffocation live show recorded during the Death Chopping North American 2018 Tour at Middle East Down in Cambridge, Massachusetts on October 22, 2018. It´s the band´s last performance with original lead vocalist Frank Mullen, who retired from recording and touring with Suffocation after the show.

The tracklist is exactly what you´d expect from a Suffocation show, featuring classics like "Thrones of Blood", "Pierced from Within", "Liege of Inveracity", "Catatonia", and of course "Infecting the Crypts". So it´s pretty much a legacy show, and you won´t find many tracks from the band´s post-2000 albums here. "Dismal Dream", "Surgery of Impalement", "Souls to Deny", and "As Grace Descends" are the exceptions here, but even a couple of those tracks have become mandatory on the band´s setlist in the last 20 years and should by now be considered classics in the band´s discography.

"Live in North America" opens with Mullen telling the audience that it´s his last show with Suffocation and how much he loves them followed by this: "Let´s fuckin´ do this thing...this is all about killing people, cause that´s what I like to do...this one is "Thrones of Blood"... Mullen was always a blue collar no bullshit type of vocalist and an icon in the death metal genre, and what better way to open his last show with Suffocation than this.

"Live in North America" is the second live album released by Suffocation, as they released "The Close of a Chapter" in 2006. It´s two very different sounding releases though. The tracklists are pretty similar but while "The Close of a Chapter" (2006) features a raw, unpolished, warts and all type of production, "Live in North America" is a professional, clear sounding, and overall accessible sounding live death metal album. I´ll go as far as to say that it would actually make a very good starting point for the uninitiated, as you not only get the "hits", but also a flawless and technically skilled performance from all involved, and to top it off a sound production which brings out the best in the material. Some may find the sound production a bit too sterile and not savage and brutal enough, but to my ears this is a perfect sounding production for Suffocation´s music and I´ve experienced a lot of nuances and details the original studio productions don´t reveal. If I have to make one complaint about the album it would be that there are fadeouts between some of the tracks, which takes away from the live experince. I´m not sure why they opted for that, but it is a minor issue as it disrupts the flow of the show.

Minor issue aside, "Live in North America" is still the perfect release to honor Mullen´s career and his vast contributions to the death metal genre. It´s a live release well worth your time and money and although it probably is a definitive goodbye to Mullen, one can always hope for a few guest appearences here and there. A 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.

SUFFOCATION The Close of a Chapter

Live album · 2006 · Brutal Death Metal
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"The Close of a Chapter" is a live album release by US, New York based death metal act Suffocation. The album was originally independently released in 2005 limited to 50 CD copies and the digital download option, but Relapse Records picked it up for a label release in late 2009. The 13 tracks on the 64:05 minutes long album is the full unedited performance of the band´s Quebec City show on the 2005 tour supporting their 2004 comeback album "Souls To Deny".

To those not familar with Suffocation they are one of the originators of brutal and technically well played death metal. Predominantly unintelligible growling vocals, massive meaty riffs and chaotic screaming solos, and a rhythm section delivering loads of tempo changes, breaks and ultra heavy breakdowns, and generally just impressive technical playing. That´s what Suffocation has been about since day one, and that´s what they are about on this live album too.

The tracklist includes songs from all four studio albums released up until then and from both the "Human Waste (1991)" EP and the "Despise the Sun (1998)" EP, so it´s arguably a good representation of Suffocation´s discography up until 2005. Classic tracks like "Infecting the Crypts", "Catatonia", "Pierced From Within", and "Breeding the Spawn", along side tracks from "Souls To Deny (2004)", which at the time was the latest studio album by the band. There is good audience interaction between the tracks as lead vocalist Frank Mullen makes sure to tell the audience how happy Suffocation are to play for them. He also encourages moshpits, and just genereally keeps the show flowing all the way through. Anyone who´s seen Frank "The Hand" Mullen live knows what a great and passionate character he is, and it´s apparent here too.

It´s not only an unedited performance but also what sounds like a raw and more or less unedited sound production. I wouldn´t call it lo-fi, but it is pretty unpolished and not always clear sounding. So you get a pretty good idea of how a Suffocation show sounds like in real life. Warts and all. The thing is though the musical performances are pretty much flawless. Suffocation have always been an extremely well playing act and their performances here are "just another day at the office" in that respect. Upon conclusion I´d say that the sound quality could have been slightly better, but overall "The Close of a Chapter" is a solid and authentic sounding live album by Suffocation and a 3.5 star (70%) rating isn´t all wrong.

SUFFOCATION Reincremated

Demo · 1990 · Brutal Death Metal
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"Reincremated" is a demo cassette tape release by US, New York based death metal act Suffocation. The demo was self-released in July 1990. Suffocation were formed in 1988 and "Reincremated" is their first release. It was also their only demo release, as they were soon discovered and signed to Relapse Records for the release of the "Human Waste (1991)" EP.

"Reincremated" features 3 tracks and a full playing time of 8:37 minutes. "Human Waste" was included on the "Human Waste (1991)" EP in the exact same version, and both "Involuntary Slaughter" and "Reincremation" were featured in re-recorded versions on Suffocation´s debut full-length studio album "Effigy of the Forgotten (1991)".

The recording quality is very raw and noisy, but it´s still audible what´s going on, and there is a unique brutal charm to it, that´s reserved for death metal demos from that time period. While the sound production is unpolished and raw to say the least, it´s still obvious how well playing Suffocation were even this early on in their career. The level of brutality is also really high considering when this was released. At the time Probably only rivaled by the likes of Cannibal Corpse and Immolation.

So while this certainly isn´t a professional recording and there are issues here and there as a consequence of that, it shows from the start that Suffocation knew exactly what they wanted and that they had the skills to do it. I´m not sure brutal technnical death metal was born with this release, but it´s arguably one of the earliest examples of the style. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is deserved.

SUFFOCATION Surgery of Impalement

Single · 2004 · Brutal Death Metal
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"Surgery of Impalement" is a sampler single by US, New York based death metal act Suffocation. The single was released through Relapse Records in April 2004. "Surgery of Impalement" features two tracks from the "Souls to Deny (2004)" album and one track from the "Despise the Sun (1998)" EP.

Sampler singles are usually used by labels as a promotional tool to promote a forthcoming full-length studio album (typically send to radio stations, webzines, and magazines for reviews). In this case "Souls to Deny (2004)", which was Suffocation´s first full-length studio album in 9 years. The last being "Pierced From Within" from 1995. The long time between albums and a band split-up between 1998 - 2002 were probably contributing factors to why the label felt a promo sampler was necessary.

As a promo "Surgery of Impalement" is slightly odd because of the inclusion of "Funeral Inception" from "Despise the Sun (1998)". There´s no logical reason for including a track from 1998 to promote a 2004 album release, other then the fact that it´s a brilliant death metal track done the brutal and technically well played Suffocation way. But that´s also true for the two tracks from "Souls to Deny (2004)". The different sound productions are slightly distracting, but it´s not a major issue as both the track from "Despise the Sun (1998)" and the tracks from "Souls to Deny (2004)" are very well produced.

So upon conclusion "Surgery of Impalement" is a nice little release by Suffocation, but as it doesn´t include anything that hasn´t been featured on other more readily available releases, the value is still a bit limited. The quality of the music, the high level performances, and powerful sound productions are still worth something though, and therefore a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

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