There are few bands out there that can match ferocity in the Death Metal realm to the likes of Suffocation. Like a morbid cockroach the band have stood the test of time and line up changes and still, to this day remain one of the most important bands in the etymology of Death Metal. Finishing up their European leg, the band hit London’s Underworld up last night and I was there to check it out.
As the festival season draws to a close once more, bands are beginning to get ready for the big Autumn runs. Celebrating a fantastic run of European festivals, tonight as the words of Kevin Muller ring out “Suffocation belong in club shows” couldn’t be more appropriate. At times over crowded, The Underworld is at its absolute best when its full but with enough room to move. Thankfully tonight is one of those nights and after the band walk out on stage and a quick DIY final check its straight into “Thrones of Blood“. Immediately conjuring up all manner of madness in the pit, the track lugubriously moves forward devouring everything in its path. Herein lies the genius of Suffocation, acting like a steamroller to the bollocks, their sound encapsulates this weight. Arguably the inventors of what most call “slam”, its the arachnid riffs that Hobbs is almost patented with now that go for the jugular tonight.
Its worth noting that despite the recent line up change, Eric Morotti on drums is an absolute beast. Able to be switch from the flight footed speed attack to the immovable rhythm that Suffocation thrive on. His imprint on the band with their new material is easily just as versatile as long time drummer Mike Smith. Able to rip out the classics of “Effigy of The Forgotten” singer Kevin Muller’s robotic delivery works perfectly for the inhuman feeling that Suffocation put forward. It’s also great to see that the band’s new material is just as well received as the older classics. A particular highlight for was the stomping “Your Last Breaths” whose verse sections has the entire Underworld moving forward to the stage, not to mention Boyer’s bass drop outs sounding absolutely monolithic. Worth mentioning here tonight, the real secret behind the groups indomitable presence is their sound. Each instrument absolutely pitch perfect, the mix sat magnificently with no instrument dwarfing the others. Not the easiest of tasks I might add.
After a particularly unlucky stage diver totally missed the memo and got up as a song finished (there’s always one isn’t there!). The band enter back into the crypts of old with “Liege of Inveracity” before ending their set triumphantly with the absolute classic “Infecting The Crypts“. Hard to believe that a record, now twenty six years old (the same age as me!) has had this longevity in the Death Metal scene. Though Suffocation might be singing about entrails and horrendous acts of violence, it couldn’t be further from what was experienced here tonight. Stage dives and high fives abound, everyone from both band and fans were having the time of their lives. Such is the nature of Death Metal, we might love hearing about people being impaled but would never wish it upon anyone! Set to head out with The Black Dahlia Murder in the US, Suffocation have more than proven their worth once again with their performance here tonight, not that they needed to mind.