This year, as New York’s Suffocation marks the start of its fourth decade in extreme death metal, founding vocalist Frank Mullen will Death Chop his way across the country for one final tour with the band. Mullen stopped touring with the band after the release of the 2013 album, Pinnacle of Bedlam, though he did record Suffocation’s most recent studio effort …of the Dark Light, in 2017. He and guitarist Terrance Hobbs are the only members to have appeared on all of the band’s albums to date. Tonight, the band will kick off its Death Chopping North America – Farewell Frank Tour 2018 in Wantagh, New York. The tour, which also features Cattle Decapitation, Krisiun, and Visceral Disgorge, will circle cities across Canada and the United States before closing out on November 17 in Reading, Pennsylvania. This will signal a new era for both Mullen and Suffocation.
Mullen co-founded Suffocation on Long Island in 1988. The band has since recorded eight studio albums and two EPs. Along the way, Mullen and the band have helped define the death metal genre, and Frank has evolved his own vocal style as well. His stage performances are one of a kind, and no one will forget his enthusiasm, energy, wagging tongue, or now famous death chop. Metal Nation chatted with Frank about his 30 years with the band.
It’s crazy,” Mullen says. “I still feel like a kid, like I’m in my teens or early 20s anyway. To think that I started this band when I was 18, and now 48. Back then I never would have thought that this band was going to be a 30-year career.”
While Mullen is ready for the next stage of his life and career, he admits it is not without some bittersweet contemplation. Working with his bandmates and meeting fans across the globe are strong bonds for the frontman.
I’m going to miss it. I’m going to miss the fans. I’ve loved doing it for 30 years, but it’s definitely going to be missed. I’m okay where I’m at. I’m okay with the decision, and it’s not something I’m regretting. I’m definitely looking forward to the next chapter of my life.”
Suffocation will move forward with vocalist Ricky Myers who has been touring with the band since 2015. He joins Hobbs, bassist Derek Boyer, and newer members, Charlie Errigo (guitars) and Eric Morotti (drums). But what does the future hold for Fabulous Frank?
I want to continue to do some music projects with guys I’ve met in different bands. friends of mine. Maybe I’ll right a song or two here, a song or two there. Keep putting things out, but I don’t have to tour for it or anything like that. So i still want to do that, and I definitely want to push more into acting. Acting’s always been a passion and something I’ve always wanted to try to do? I definitely want to give it a go, see if maybe I can do that for another 30 years.”
For three decades, Suffocation have been the torch carriers for American built extreme death metal. From their Human Waste EP and debut full length Effigy of the Forgotten in 1991 to the aforementioned, …of the Dark Light in 2017, they have continued to set the standard for technical brutality in the genre. But which of the band’s crushing canon of work is their seminal masterpiece?
To me it’s a toss up. I always like to go with Effigy, because that was like the staple. That’s the imprint of Suffocation. That’s where it started. but I think, one of the album’s, you can really just listen to this and I think you grasp it right off the bat is Pierced from Within.'”
Check out the full interview with Frank below as he talks about the past, present and future of his career, his proudest moments, and more. Then catch Suffocation on tour this fall.