Published Feb 03, 2010Suffocation fans do not mosh or form a circle pit. Instead, they shuffle from side to side, heads jerking and performing the "death metal spirit fingers," à la vocalist Frank Mullen. The affable front-man, dressed in his trademark wife-beater and jeans, looking more like he should be a bouncer at neighbourhood bar in New Jersey, is popular for frantically shaking his outstretched left hand in response to the myriad of wicked blast beasts, courtesy of newly shorn drummer Mike Smith.
The New York band was the third in a four-band line-up at Toronto's Opera House, opening for headliners DevilDriver and appearing after Thy Will Be Done and Goatwhore. The technical proficiency of Suffocation wowed the almost sold-out audience, playing a variety of oldies ("Effigy of the Forgotten," "Pierced from Within") and some newer tracks off of their latest, 2009's critically acclaimed Blood Oath.
Fronted by Dez Fafara, DevilDriver started off with "End of the Line," with the gracious ex-Coal Chamber singer quickly proving that despite not getting a lot of Canadian media attention, there was a reason why the crowd showed up to pay their respects. Much to the disgust of the guys who lined the front stage and to the amusement of the band, someone threw underwear onto the stage. More than a few young girls who crowd-surfed to the front to get man-handled by bouncers frantically tried to grab Fafara's legs and mouth "I love you" to the 40-plus singer.
But besides the '70s-era fandom, the band pummelled through their no-frills metal set with tracks like "Back with a Vengeance," and crowd favourite "Fate Stepped In" off of their latest, Pray for Villains. DevilDriver, who know what side their bread is buttered on, showed their appreciation by putting on an energetic set for their obviously huge Toronto fanbase.