Suffocation // Live In North America // Album Review

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The legacy of Suffocation is undeniable.

So when it was time for Frank Mullen the band’s longtime vocalist to step down from the band Suffocation celebrated his legacy within the band with a farewell tour in 2018.

Luckily the fans who did not reside in the USA now are able to enjoy one of Frank’s last performances with Suffocation in the bands latest release “Live In North America”.

Featuring a hefty live set from Boston Mass filled with thirteen tracks spanning the bands long history of classic songs & even some off the bands last album “Of The Dark Light” this live album is Suffocation through & through.

Now admittedly I’ve never been a huge fan of live albums.

Only a few through the years have ticked all the boxes, some have never scratched the surface of the pure adrenaline of a live show for me.

But with this live album Suffocation have smashed it out of the park.

Suffocation has been one of my favorite brutal death metal bands since I was sixteen years old. I’ve been lucky to see them with Frank on vocals. A few years ago Frank stepped down as a touring member & the band over the last few years have recruited some top notch replacements.

One of those replacements was the mighty John Gallagher (Dying Fetus) the band’s newest live vocalist Ricky Myers (Disgorge) who is phenomenal in a live setting & with the added help of new guitarist Charlie Errigo (The Merciless Concept, Pyrexia, Internal Bleeding) who joined the band in 2016 who both brought a whole new breath of fresh air & helped revitalise the band as a whole.

The album opens with the now staple & one of my personal favorite open tracks from any band live “Thrones Of Blood”.

Right from the first second hearing the crowd roar & Frank states “this song’s all about killing people, cos thats what i like to do” in usual Frank Mullen jib you feel like you are there in the front row.

Getting to hear those palm muted chugs in the verses on “Thrones Of Blood” before the signature growl of Frank’s vocals over the chorus captures the band’s legacy of fantastic live performances in a time capsule.

Straight into the classic death metal track “Effigy Of The Forgotten” for the second song in the setlist which some believe to be the origins of the slam sound. Whether you agree or not, getting to hear such a perfect performance of a now 30 year old track with a band that has played the track 1000 times over the years is an album to make it sound brand new.

Full energy & gives veterans & new listeners to Suffocation a juggernaut of a track the justice it deserves in a live album.

The fifth track in the set “Surgery Of Impalement” is a lesson in percisson. It’s always been one of my favorite tracks to see the band perform live. A more technical track from the band but on this album every note is perfect. With the sheer ferrousity from the album it was recorded from.

Later in the set “As Grace Descends” from the “Pinnacle of Bedlam” album which is for some fans is a polarizing album but for me getting to hear this track many years later & sandwiched between classic Suffocation tracks “Jesus Wept” & “Liege Of Inveracity” it now feels at home with the early bands catalogue as well deserving in the bands repertoire.

The closing track “Infecting The Crypts” is somewhat bitter sweet. Part sad to hear Frank sing the song live for a final time & captured in this way but also a true & fitting chronicle of the impact he & the members of Suffocation had & still to this day hold on the world.

By the end of the album you get to hear Frank’s farewells tug at your heartstrings but remind you what a fantastic front man he is & what a mammoth of a stage presence he will be leaving behind.

Joseph Mitchell

Live In North America is out on November 12th via Nuclear Blast Records.

Tracklist:

01. Thrones Of Blood

02. Effigy Of The Forgotten

03. Funeral Inception

04. Pierced From Within

05. Surgery Of Impalement

06. Dismal Dream

07. Jesus Wept

08. As Grace Descends

09. Liege Of Inveracity

10. Breeding The Spawn

11. Catatonia

12. Souls To Deny

13. Infecting The Crypts

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Suffocation // Live In North America // Album Review
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