Saying farewell is never easy; regardless of career or relationship. After 30 years of brutal death metal bliss, frontman Frank Mullen has decided to call it quits. Despite stepping back from touring over recent years, the Long Island, NY death metallers decided to embark on one final “Death Chopping” North American run to celebrate Mullen’s career spanning throughout eight full-length efforts ranging from 1991’s Effigy of the Forgotten up until 2017’s …of the Dark Light, and everything between. The band invited Cattle Decapitation, Krisiun, and Visceral Disgorge to join them in the commemoration. While the tour has ended, we were there when Mullen said good-bye to his New York City fans on November 16th at Gramercy Theatre.
Sweden’s tech death metallers Soreption were initially scheduled to support the trek. However, due to visa issues, the band were forced to drop off as Maryland death metallers Visceral Disgorge were added to the bill. As the dim-lights set the mood for a night filled of headbanging disarray, Visceral Disgorge kicked off the evening as they pounded through songs from 2011’s Ingesting Putridity including “Force Fed Shredded Genitalia,” “Strangled and Sodomized,” and “Maggot Infested Fuck Hole.”
Next up were Brazilian death metallers Krisiun as they were there to introduce their latest effort Scourge of the Enthroned, which was released in September via Century Media. The trio inducted blasphemous riffs into the room as they ripped through songs such as “Kings of Killing,” “Combustion Inferno,” “Scourge of the Enthroned,” and “Blood of Lions.”
As the farewell party continued, Cattle Decapitation were there to bring utter chaos to the sold-out crowd. These California progressive death/grindcore masters delivered in complete obscurity and it didn’t matter if it was from their recent Medium Rarities, 2015’s The Anthropocene Extinction, or earlier. The group were left in darkness as they went into songs such as “The Carbon Stampede,” “Dead Set on Suicide,” “Prophets of Loss,” “Circo Inhumanitas,” “Not Suitable of Life,” “Forced Gender Reassignment,” “Manufactured Extinct,” and “Pacific Grim.”
We spoke to Suffocation’s Charlie Errigo (guitar) and Eric Morotti (drums) before their show that night as Eric explained to us how the crowd moved like a flock of “salmon’s” during the tour. And sure enough, the New York pit was how they had described. There were moments when it looked as though the room turned into one giant mosh pit as the house went crazy for Mullen’s final NYC performance. It was an emotional evening as the frontman addressed the crowd before each song as he explained he based the setlist from his personal favorites. It was evident that he didn’t want the night to end and neither did the fans. However, the evening continued to slaughter with merciful riffs, Mullen’s signature death chop move and fortified headbanging was used instead of tears. Songs included: “Thrones of Blood,” “Effigy of the Forgotten,” “Funeral Inception,” “Pierced from Within,” “Surgery of Impalement,” “Dismal Dream,” “Jesus Wept,” “As Grace Descends,” “Liege of Inveracity,” “Breeding the Spawn,” “Catatonia,” Souls to Deny,” and “Infecting the Crypts.”
Mullen’s farewell does not mean an end to Suffocation as Ricky Myers has been set to take his place. Change is inevitable. While we will miss Mullen’s vocals, we’re curious to see the next chapter of Suffocation.