Live at Championship Sports Bar & Grill
February 10, 2013
Review by Infamousbutcher
Photos by SheWolf
The origin of brutal death metal as we know it began 25 years ago in Long Island, NY with a band called Suffocation. These purveyors of sonic destruction are still bringing it every night, showing the world how it’s fucking done! On the verge of unleashing their seventh album PINNACLE OF BEDLAM upon the world, Suffo is playing a few gigs prior to the album’s release on February 19. Luckily for me, I live on the east coast not far from where Suffo regularly plays. Tonight is my 6th Suffocation show and I am ready to be bludgeoned by the masters!
Championship Sports Bar & Grill is a little place with some pool tables and an attached liquor store. We walked in the place and I thought; where the fuck is the stage? Back in the corner, there was a door. When I opened it, LOUD death metal spewed out, it was like a fucking mosh rumpus room! The room was tiny, I think the capacity said 175 people but that is pushing it. The stage was about 6 inches off the floor and was probably 12 feet long, smallest stage I have ever seen. No barriers, every man for himself! Lighting was surprisingly bright, almost too bright on the stage. I recognized several metalheads from other shows last year and spoke to a few people. It’s always good to be friendly with some folks you are going to bang heads with later! My wife and I moved to the front of the stage as Suffo set up, hoping to get some good shots.
Suffo came on at 10:10, blasting us with their usual opener, “Thrones of Blood.” Sound quality was surprisingly good, Frank’s inhuman roar filled the little room as Dave Culross hurricane drumming combined with Derek’s awesome bass to provide the backdrop for the carnage. Terrance and Guy shredded their guitars with ferocity and intricacy. The crowd immediately went into a rabid frenzy of moshing, crowd surfing, and headbanging! I couldn’t shield my wife for too long, she had to move to a safer spot further back after the opener. Things were just getting started; the best was yet to come!
Every Suffo fan out there has heard the killer new song “As Grace Descends” and can’t fucking wait for PINNACLE OF BEDLAM. I wasn’t sure if we would get any new material since the album isn’t out yet. Well, what we got was a mind blowing wrecking ball heavy live version of “As Grace Descends”! It was fucking brilliant, even better than the album version, complete with insane riffs, drumming, and plenty of signature Frank guttural vocals as only he can do. The new song sounds more like material from the classics PIECRED FROM WITHIN or DESPISE THE SUN rather than say the newer BLOOD OATH or the self-titled album, which makes me very happy. I love all Suffocation, but my favorite is the older stuff.
Frank was a fucking riot as usual with his stage banter. Frank explained that the album he was influenced most by as a teenager was Slayer’s HELL AWAITS! He said he rode his bicycle to the neighborhood Caldor (!) to buy a copy and was blown away! HELL AWAITS influenced so many great bands like Death and Obituary, its fucking timeless evil! Frank also addressed the zombie apocalypse and said if people are eating human flesh and are not dropping until they are shot in the head, they are fucking zombies! He said if I turn into a zombie, someone shoot me in the head and put me down!
Rest of the set was the standard classics. My faves of the night were “Catatonia” (can’t get enough of this old one, powerful vocals from Frank), “Funeral Inception” (amazing drumming from Dave!), “Pieced From Within” (goddamn, what a fucking breakdown!), “As Grace Descends” (best song of the night, superbly savage), “Liege of Inveracity” (old school ass kicking in the pit, LOW growls!) and the old punishing finisher, “Infecting the Crypts” (THE INFERTILE SOIL!! Last chance to hit somebody people, so step it up motherfuckers!). I was hoping for “Jesus Wept” or the rarely played “Human Waste”, but this is minor nit picking. Crowd was rough throughout; Trenton is tough town with serious metalheads. I paced myself in the pit, but I when I went full bore people got the fuck out of my way! I ain’t what I used to be 20 years ago, but I’ve got a little something left.
Another merciless performance by the death metal legends left me wanting more, anxious for PINNACLE OF BEDLAM, which I got in the mail on Feb 21 along with the XXL t-shirt! The album is incredible, Suffo’s best work since PIERCED FROM WITHIN. It has everything you love about Suffo, plus some amazing new wrinkles. No filler, every track is great and the whole thing is appropriately brutal! Support real death metal people, pick up a copy of the new album and see Suffocation on tour in April!
1. Thrones of Blood
2. Effigy of the Forgotten
4. Abomination Reborn
5. Funeral Inception
6. Pierced From Within
7. As Grace Descends
8. Cataclysmic Purification
9. Liege of Inveracity
10. Infecting the Crypts