Acclaimed New York death metallers SUFFOCATION, who released several successful album in the early '90s, have reunited after a four-year break and are said to be in the process of rehearsing for upcoming shows and a possible new album.
No official announcement has yet been made, but it is believed that the group's current line-up consists of the following musicians:
Mike Smith - drums
Terrance Hobbs - guitar
Guy Marchais (INTERNAL BLEEDING) - guitar
Frank Mullen - vocals
Josh Barohn – bass
When contacted by BLABBERMOUTH.NET for a comment about the rumored reunion, former bassist Chris Richards, who was in the band for the last six years of their existence, sent us the following statement:
"Yes, I think it is unfortunately true that this reunion will happen. The reason why I say 'unfortunately' is that I believe it is all for the wrong reasons.
"Back in '98, Doug Cerrito, the original guitarist of SUFFOCATION, and myself made the decision that it was time to end SUFFOCATION. We were not going anywhere new and the amount of stress and conflict between the members was at its highest levels. So instead of continuing we decided that it was best for the band to end it. This way, SUFFOCATION ended with pride, love and respect for the members and the music.
"SUFFOCATION was to date the best thing I — and I can pretty much speak for the rest of the guys — the best thing we have experienced in our lives. [However] there was a lot of mismanagement [that took place that hampered our ability to grow and be taken seriously by the music industry]. We were young kids and knew nothing about business, so a lot of mistakes were made. We had really bad management, [and] nobody in the business respected us because of that. Put it to ya this way: Our manager would call [then-label] Roadrunner [Records] and ask for tour support, and [former Roadrunner Tour Coordinator] Scott [Givens] would laugh at us because [of] how pathetic our manager was.
"Anyway I'm running away from the topic here… I love what I did with SUFFOCATION and I'm sure the rest of the guys feel the same way. There is one thing though: Do you think they listen to anything remotely [close to] death metal? NO! They are doing this to fill a personal void in themselves and nothing more. None of them have done anything [in music] even somewhat successful since SUFFOCATION. If they had, they wouldn't give a rat's ass about doing this reunion.
"And another thing… I don't mean to talk shit, but who is going to be able to play my bass lines? Josh? It's not going to happen. What about the drums? And in no way do I discredit Mike Smith, because he was one of the main reasons of me joining SUFFOCATION in the first place, but the stuff on [1995's] Pierced From Within and [1998's] Despise The Sun [EP] [which featured Doug Bohn and Dave Culross, respectively] — he just isn't that kind of drummer.
"Now we come up to Frank Mullen, who, personally, I think is a great guy and friend, but he really hurt the band because it was not number one in his life — it was his wife and family, which I think he's a great husband and father. God knows I wish my father felt for me the way Frank feels for his kid, but the band was 3rd or 4th [priority] in his life and that depressed the shit out of me then. He was not able to tour or do certain shows because of the wife and his job. Now he is divorced and wants to reunite SUFFOCATION. What if everything was going great with his family life — would he still want to do this?
"As far as Terrance is concerned, all I can say is that he is an amazing musician and just loves to play his heart out.
"Doug and myself are really upset that this reunion is going to take place for the wrong reasons. If the guys were really sincere about doing this, because they followed their hearts, that would be one thing. But I believe they just can't stand sitting at home and want to make a little amount of cash, and I mean little, [by reforming the band]. I just don't want the best thing to date in my life to be disrespected."
In related news, Richards and Cerrito have been have been collaborating on some "new killer shit" that is "not death metal but [is] still very fucking heavy and I think people are really going to dig it," according to the bassist.
We'll have more information on SUFFOCATION and related projects as it becomes available.