Published Aug 08, 2016Of all the crushing, devastating metal acts that have passed through the gates and into Heavy Montreal over the years, you could argue that the U.S.A.'s Suffocation are the most punishing yet. So during a year in which the festival headliners weren't particularly heavy, the long-serving technical death squad arrived yesterday (August 7) for their first-ever festival appearance to lay absolute waste to the otherwise-tranquil Blabbermouth Stage.
Frontman Frank Mullen prowled the stage, surveying the crowd before him like prey while channelling his savage, guttural vocals into the microphone. Surfing atop the ripping drumming behind him, lithe bassist Derek Boyer relentlessly flung pounding bass into the crowd, incredibly engrossed in his performance, trance-like; it was extremely impressive to witness.
Clouds of dust swirled through the stomping crowd, and the circle pit didn't take a moment off as the band ripped through numerous brutal songs from their catalogue. Highlight performances included 1991's "Liege of Inveracity" and the landmark title track from their 1993 release Breeding the Spawn. Equally impressive under all of that bottom-end gore and flailing bodies were the dizzy maelstrom solos from guitarist Terrance Hobbs.
It wasn't all about the brutality though. Mullen in particular seemed in very high spirits, perhaps impressed with the density and energy of the crowd. Throughout, he would stop to smile at the crowd, often sticking out his tongue and cracking jokes between songs.