Anyone who has ever experienced Suffocation in a live setting now lives in constant fear of the Frank Mullen Blastbeat Speed-Chop.
Not that it's any sort of profound revelation or anything, but I really loves me some Suffocation. There are few bands with such a distinct and long-lasting influence on the world of death metal (Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse come to mind), and, in my opinion, Suffocation has never released a bad album. They're rock fucking solid, always dependable to put on a face-melting show and write really cool songs. Shit, they even have a specific type of blastbeat named after them (the "Suffo-" or "Smith-blast", you fucking poser). How many blastbeats are named after your band, pussy? None. That's how many.
It takes some real vision and endurance to put out an album as kick-ass as 2009's Blood Oath (right) two decades into your career. Seriously, it rips. It might not be quite as br00tal as Effigy of the Forgotten or as malicious as Breeding The Spawn, but it's still a formidable release for any DM band in this day and age - a twisted, lurching monolith of a record eons better than 99% of the other tech-metal effluvium saturating the market. Not bad for a band that "broke up" in 1998.
Left: Attack Attack! and Trujillo got nothing on Suffo's Derek Boyer.
Suffo live is truly a spectacle -- thanks, in no small part, to the unwitting Jersey-meathead likability of frontman Frank Mullen. Frank is a Bro's Bro, and when he claims onstage that "all you sick fuckahs are like family ta us", it's obviously true. Homeboy is having a blast (no pun intended) up there dishing out tales of murder and inversion of the church over squealing guitars and crushing slammz, no doubt about it.
But simple hero-worship never stopped anyone here at IllCon from revealing the truth. And I've got a big, fat, stinky load of truth to dump on your collective head today.
Ladies and gentlemen, as much as it pains me to say it and as much as I genuinely like the guy, I must point out the painful truth: FRANK MULLEN IS SUPER EMO.
The other members of Suffocation do not approve of Frank's new haircut (especially Derek).
I first noticed the change right around the release of their "comeback" album, 2004's Souls To Deny. Now, from what I understand, Frank The Tank went through a particularly painful breakup around this time, but Suffocation just isn't meant to be Breakup Metal. It doesn't fit.
Souls is EMO AS FUCK right off the bat, beginning with the first track, "Deceit". Go ahead, read these lyrics and tell me how they're any different from the angst-poetry you would find inside the diaries of most fifteen-year-old goth brats:
"For many years I put my trust in you
Perceiving the vows I took that were true
Only to learn all had been lost to you
To search for meanings not truly there
Answers to questions only bring despair
Distractions down the path of our lives
Was there a point to nine years we had
Selfish thoughts leave you undesireable
Part of me was severed that very day
In the wake of confusion I search, looking
For the answers to questions only reveal..."
The song then crescendoes into "To Weep Once More", whose first line, "Sorrow fills my weeping eyes..." bodes even worse for things to come.
Dude, Frank. Chill out. Your mascara is running.
Frank Mullen wears lensless glasses and recites love poetry at concerts.
Things got even worse on Suffocation's next album, a self-titled affair released in '06. To wit:
(from "Translucent Patterns Of Delirium")
"Why am I here?
What did you say? Stop talking to me
Once I was told therefore I am not
My father once told me to shut up, shut up
Is this where I came from?
Do I know you? Is this real or not?
Where do I belong?
As I was correcting my head I feel ill
Hurts to comprehend
My translucent patterns of delirium
Shut up, shut up you
The pieces no longer fit the puzzle
My glue will no longer hold me
Is this all in my head? Or is that you talking to me?
Who goes there? and why have you come?
Leave me be, lock the door behind you
Let go of my head
I seem to have misplaced myself
Can you help me find my way?"
"Everything you thought or were led to believe was a misconception
This unsafe approach at life has killed all hope within.
Worthless attempts of achieving happiness
Disgusted, mistrusted, betrayed and persuaded
Reveling such feelings, mistakes of disgrace
The shock and disbelief of reality SETS IN
The weight of the world CRUSHES
These pains within are intolerable
Changes are of utmost importance.
Intolerable ways of living brought on by oneself.
Waiting to be let down,
Depression, remove for all negative surroundings
False perceptions broken dreams
Living this unhappy life is not worth living..."
What gives, man?
Frank Mullen talks about his feelings with the Suffo-Bros over shots of Jager and delicious appetizers.
Blood Oath, even being the solid album that it is, still suffers from Mullen's emo stylings. Take, for instance, Oath's second track, "Dismal Dream":
"What have I done
to deserve all of this?
In the blink of an eye
all things have changed
and how will I make it through all this?
that I cannot wake from.
My dismal dream
I live and breathe
I cannot leave..."
Yikes. Put down the razor, buddy. "Dismal Dream" is followed by "Pray For Forgiveness", which gives us even more of Frank's cry-for-help poetry.
"To pray for forgiveness
what have I done?
No one seems to care
ask for guidance
but it falls on deaf ears
if there's is one who will hear me
how does he not answer?"
Somebody call the Suicide Hotline! I haven't heard anything so soul-crushingly emo since sophomore year drama class! Dang!
Frank Mullen has raccoon hair and takes Myspace-angle pictures of himself on an iPhone.
Am I the only one that has noticed this disturbing tendency toward emo-ism? Or am I just looking too closely? I leave you today with Frank's heartfelt musings from "Subconsciously Enslaved":
"Is it me? Am I alone?
Is it me? Am I alone?"
(sob, sob, whimper, sob...)