The face…..the sound…..the epitome of legendary death metal band Suffocation Frank “The Tank” Mullen who has been the band’s only vocalist (minus fill ins since 2012 on tour when he picked up a full time job that demands lots of hours) in its 30+ year existence. That is old as myself……holy crap. Anyways, he posted a video on his Facebook fan page stating a tour at the end of this year will be his last with the band who knows if he might just stay on to record albums. We unfortunately know he’s done with shows but maybe just be a part of the albums from here on out……but if he can’t handle that anymore, personally I want to thank the man for everything he has done for such an obscure genre of heavy metal. Suffocation was one of the first bands that got me into death metal outside of other legendary acts such as Obituary, Death, Morbid Angel, Possessed and later on Decapitated.
He was never a slacker at all……he helped put together some of the most memorable albums in death metal. “Effigy Of The Forgotten”, “Pierced From Within”, “Breeding The Spawn” and “Human Waste” ring any bells metalheads? The latest offering “Of The Dark Light” is also turning into another Suffocation classic as well.
What set apart Mullen apart from your average extreme metal vocalist wasn’t his talent or poise…..but his admirable personality. He had serious fun in an extremely unprofitable genre. He was very funny and uplifting, which you wouldn’t expect out of an average frontman for a death metal band. Would he be in this long haul for it? Death Metal doesn’t pay the bills folks, lets be real. That’s what came down to it all for Frank…..and he did it for as long as you could. This is why its super important to support the music you’re into especially if its obscure and not popular…..theres lots of financial trouble. Suffocation being one of the best death metal bands since the genre’s beginning in the later part of the 1980’s is still very lucky to be able to do what they love to do.
As a native of the Buffalo region in New York, I have a closer bond to the guys in Suffocation (who originated in Long Island….close enough, same state right?). I remember seeing the band at the old Club Infinity in Williamsville when they released “Blood Oath” when the classic lineup was together for the millionth time….
Frank Mullen- vocals
Terrence Hobbs- guitars
Guy Marchias- guitars
Derek Boyer- Bass
Mike Smith- Drums
Sadly that was the only time I saw Mullen, but also the only time I saw Mike Smith (another favorite drummer of mine in the death metal game) who left and joined the band countless times. I wasn’t totally into the genre then, and one local band (I forgot who) may have been on the bill and stayed late enough to check them out. I was just getting past Between the Buried & Me and Lamb Of God vocally I wasn’t always into growling so it took getting used to. Good god, they kicked my ass. Not just the sweet shred work of death metal’s best guitar duo but Frank’s insane amount of energy that catapulted the band to one of the best performances I’ve seen of any band.
Some of my favorite Suffocation tracks:
From the bottom of my heart…..thanks for everything Mr. Mullen. You fronted one of the greatest death metal bands, and one of the most underrated metal bands in general (should be up in the same legions as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest go ahead fight me!). Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts on Frank and the band. Hail Suffocation. Hail Frank.