Suffocation at the Riot Room

Suffocation at the Riot Room in Kansas City

Suffocation at the Riot Room in Kansas City

It’s been a while since a pure death metal show has come through Kansas City, but this past Monday night the Riot Room was alive with a near-capacity crowd celebrating 25 years of life (and lots of death) with the legendary New York death metal masters Suffocation. The band, fronted by enigmatic vocalist Frank Mullen, tore through a blistering hour-long set that encompassed cuts from their latest album, several songs off their first release, 1991′s Effigy of the Forgotten, and even a few selections from their 1998 EP Despise The Sun, including “Catatonia,” the first song Suffocation wrote as a band. For how long they played, the band never once wavered in how spot-on their individual performances were. Considering how bone-crushingly heavy they sounded, that is an achievement in itself. Suffocation is the reason that breakdowns came into extreme metal, and no one does them better than the originators themselves. When “Liege of Inveracity” was played, it was like getting a history lesson — it’s basically the origin point for any brutal metal band’s existence since 1991. The whole band performed amazing and the sound at the venue was outstanding — every riff and guttural shriek was heard over the cacophony that the band produced onstage. Also, Mullen made for an entertaining frontman, talking about the impending zombie apocalypse, his experiences growing up Irish Catholic, and speaking at length about how important it is to support the brutal music scene. The crowd ate it all up. There were constant mosh pits from the moment Suffocation took the stage. Constantly, crowd members were forced onto the stage from moshers running into them, but everyone took it in stride. Although the band is in their 25th year of existence, they play with as much ferocity as they did back in 1990.

Suffocation at the Riot Room in Kansas City

Suffocation at the Riot Room in Kansas City

Direct support came from Exhumed. This Carcass-worship deathgrind band is enjoying a huge resurgence after being absent from the metal world for a few years. Led by Matt Harvey on guitars, Exhumed had more of a punk-vibe than the other bands on the bill, and it translates really well in their live shows. Each one of their songs flew by at lightspeed and were filled to the brim with grinding riffing and guitar solos. During “Limb From Limb,” a crazed roadie dressed up in bloody doctor garments came on stage revving an actual chainsaw, pretending to saw the crowds limbs. The same doctor made another appearance when Exhumed’s guitarist “died” during his guitar solo. Using a prop defibrillator, he attempted to resurrect him, but in the end all it took was — of course — just a beer poured into his mouth. Exhumed shows are beginning to be much more than just a musical performance, and their macabre antics fit perfectly with their gore-themed death metal. The mix on the guitars was a bit iffy for the first half of their set, but sounded perfect at the end. Almost as good as the headliners.

Playing in the middle of the lineup was old-school death metal band Jungle Rot. Jungle Rot sits comfortably between the brutality and sometimes-progressive music of Immolation and the melodic groove of Sweden’s Unleashed. Some people say Jungle Rot’s unwillingness to venture outside their comfort zone only hurts them, but if they’re good at what they do, why change? Jungle Rot may be the Motörhead of death metal: hardly changing their sound in almost 20 years, but always producing satisfying results. The band made heavy use of breakdowns and it only drove the crowd more and more insane each time they introduced one. There’s something super-satisfying about no-frills, no-BS death metal, and Jungle Rot might do it better than anyone. If it wasn’t for Suffocation headlining, Jungle Rot would’ve stolen the show.

Suffocation at the Riot Room in Kansas City

Suffocation at the Riot Room in Kansas City

The first touring band to play was Adimiron from Italy. They definitely had charisma and weren’t afraid to try and pump up the crowd up, but their brand of post-thrash sounded most like it’d be more at home opening for Machine Head or Chimaira and not here. There were a few parts that had promise, but overall they were an opening band: nothing more and nothing less.

Good ol’ boys Troglodyte opened the show. Their fresh take on deathgrind with punk-y aesthetics is a breath of fresh air whether they’re opening a show or headlining it. A set comprised mostly of newer songs, they owned the stage and captivated the not-so-small audience that turned up to witness their odes to Bigfoot. It’s surprising that they aren’t much bigger and internationally recognized, but that just makes it all the better that they’re a jewel of the amazing Kansas City scene.

Thrones Of Blood
Mass Obliteration
As Grace Descends
Funeral Inception
Rapture Of Revocation
Liege Of Inveracity
Pierced From Within
Purgatorial Punishment
Devoid Of Truth
My Demise
Infecting The Crypts
(Might be missing a song/out of order.)

The Beginning After The End
Dis-Assembly Line
Through Cadaver Eyes
Distorted and Twisted to Form
Limb From Limb
Guitar Solo
Decrepit Crescendo
All Guts, No Glory
As Hammer to Anvil
The Rotting
The Matter of Splatter

About Jackson May

Read more from Jackson at Mandatory Metallica and follow him on Twitter at @Mankvill.

View all articles by Jackson May

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