Extensive Enterprise have built a deserved reputation as the most respected promoters of all things heavy in Montreal, and this week they are surpassing themselves with the number of quality metal bands they are bringing to the city. Dying Fetus, Incantation and Gatecreeper will be at L’Astral this weekend, while Stick To Your Guns, Emmure and Wage War play Club Soda on October 29th. Before all that though, death metal legends Suffocation are in town and have brought Cattle Decapitation, Krisiun and Visceral Disgorge along for a night of brutality at Foufs.
Suffocation vocalist Frank Mullen is set to retire this year after fronting the tech death outfit for three decades, and this date is the third of a farewell run of tour dates to mark the occasion.
After a solid set of heavy riffs and a more traditional metal template from Brazil’s Krisiun the crowd seemed excited for the arrival of California’s Cattle Decapitation. Despite being from The Golden State you won’t find this band singing about surfing or sunshine. They’re more likely to cover topics like the mistreatment and consumption of animals, the abuse of the environment and genocide of the human race. And they do so with astonishing fury and precision.
Frontman Travis Ryan is a formidable frontman and his range is unlike almost any other metal vocalist, from the terrifyingly low gutturals to shrill highs that seem to pierce the sound barrier. His bandmates are totally relentless yet musically adept, creating a furious blast of noise that takes absolutely no prisoners. I had high hopes, seeing this band for the first time, but I was still taken aback by the hurricane of sound. An intense and incredible experience.
Technical death metal is not for everybody. In fact, it’s a wonder that anyone would listen to such cacophonous mayhem for enjoyment. And yet, this bludgeoning sound is produced in every corner of the planet, across continents and cultures. Since 1988, New Yorkers, Suffocation have risen to prominence within the genre and helped create a blueprint with their 1991 debut album Effigy Of The Forgotten, as well as the seven studio albums that followed.
In March of this year it was announced that vocalist Frank Mullen will do one more tour with Suffocation before officially retiring from the band, so tonight acts as a farewell for the band’s Montreal fans. And from the moment the band hit the stage, it’s a whirlwind of bodies moving through the pit and a blaze of ferociously tight death metal spewing from the speakers.
Original guitarist Terrance Hobbs remains to one side of the stage but what he lacks in animation, he more than makes up for in sonic delivery, seemingly filling every available microsound with sound as his fingers fly around the fretboard. He may be guilty of playing 5000 notes, but there is one important thing that has always set Suffocation apart from other technical death metal acts and that is their understanding of implementing a solid groove now and again. There’s plenty of violent syncopation and propeller double kicks, but it’s the meaty, crawling half-time grooves that really make their sound a notch up from most of the contemporaries.
Mullen seems genuinely moved by the response he receives when he talks about retiring and his plans to try his hand at acting and other musical projects. There is plenty of respect for him and the band he helped create and he will undoubtedly miss this chapter of his life as much as the fans will miss seeing him on stage performing. As a swansong, tonight’s setlist is packed full of their classics, with Catatonia and a final Infecting the Crypts getting the biggest response from the sold-out Foufs crowd.
Suffocation will be back. Ricky Myers of Disgorge fame will take over vocal duties but, for tonight, Montreal says au revoir to one of metal’s most important frontmen. And it was a fitting farewell.
Review & photos – Steve GerrardShare this :