Suffocation / Cattle Decapitation / Krisiun / Visceral Disgorge

Lee's Palace, Toronto ON, October 24

Photo: Stephen McGill

BY Joe Smith-EngelhardtPublished Oct 25, 2018

All good things must come to an end, and that time has come for pioneering death metal vocalist Frank Mullen. Suffocation have been shattering eardrums for three decades, but over the past few years, Mullen hasn't acted as a full-time vocalist, opting to share the position with Disgorge vocalist Ricky Myers. Nevertheless, Mullen pulled through for one final tour to give a proper farewell to this era of the band.
Fans were treated to a stacked lineup for Suffocation's final outing, starting off with Baltimore death dealers Visceral Disgorge. The band tore through their short set like a bull in a china shop, but warmed the crowd up well for the chaotic remainder of the show. Following this, Brazilian trio Krisiun came out to deliver some old-school vibes to the packed room. Tracks such as "Scourge of the Enthroned," "Blood of Lions" and "Ravager" injected a hefty dose of razor-sharp riffs and tight, furious drumming that inspired some of the moshers in the crowd to come forward.
Due to the nature of the genre, it's difficult to think of a death metal band who don't show an impressive level of musicianship live, but you'd be hard-pressed to find one as skilled as Cattle Decapitation. As the lights dimmed and the band began their intro, vocalist Travis Ryan gurgled out the opening to "The Carbon Stampede" like some sort of demonic swamp monster.
Although the band have an endless supply of solid material to choose from, their set list put a spotlight on their past two albums. Tracks such as "Forced Gender Reassignment," "The Prophets of Loss" or "Manufactured Extinct" gave way to manic, unearthly shrieks, machine-gun drumming and blazing guitar riffs. As the band closed their set with a devastating performance of "Pacific Grim," Ryan made his way into the crowd to surf his way back to the bar and enjoy the night with the rest of the crowd.
From the moment Suffocation stepped on stage though, the night took a much friendlier turn. Mullen took no time in addressing his departure and made a quick farewell speech as the band launched into "Thrones of Blood," but as he was performing, you couldn't help but feel the overwhelming positivity radiating from the stage. The vocalist took time to address what he's moving on from the band to do, ensuring fans he will still work on music in the future, while making some attempt at breaking into the acting world.
The band focused pretty heavily on their first three releases prior to their breakup in the late '90s, but still found time for something from nearly every one of their records. Tracks such as "Effigy of the Forgotten" and "Jesus Wept" fit alongside newer songs like "As Grace Descends" and "Dismal Dream" seamlessly, and displayed the high calibre the band have been performing at their entire career.
Near the end of Suffocation's set, Mullen went on a bit of a rant about how long it has been since he did a full tour with the band and how exhausting it was, asking the crowd if he still had what it takes to perform. With the skill and charisma put on display by Mullen, there's absolutely no doubt he's still got it.

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