New York death metal veterans SUFFOCATION have reportedly parted ways with drummer Mike Smith.
Although Smith‘s exit from the group has not yet been officially confirmed by SUFFOCATION, the band played a couple of East Coast shows this past weekend with former member Dave Culross (MALEVOLENT CREATION, HATEPLOW) once again sitting behind the kit.
Fan-filmed video footage of SUFFOCATION‘s February 18 performance at Jimmy’s Place in Allentown, Pennsylvania (featuring Culross on drums) can be seen below.
In a cryptic posting on his official Facebook page, Smith wrote earlier tonight, “There are not many things related to the SUFFOCATION brand I can honestly say brings me sadness. Except the lack of pride that exists within those who have the ‘right’ to claim the name as their own.
“This battle has been one that to any focused being should make obvious sense, but has evaded some for two decades.
“Within any foundation, the weakest link will always cause all structure to crumble.
“The one fact that keeps me at peace is the fact that anyone who has ever seen or spoken to me regarding SUFFOCATION and the industry as a whole has always left with an understanding of the level of focus and pride that I personally hold for myself, the brand that is SUFFOCATION and the genre we influence and helped create.
“As I’ve always said, if you are willing to put your time and soul towards anything, be willing to speak truths, fight and bleed for it, if need be.”
SUFFOCATION is currently hard at work on material for the band’s new album, tentatively due this summer via Nuclear Blast Records.
In the February 2012 issue of Decibel magazine, SUFFOCATION bassist Derek Boyer stated about the upcoming CD, “We’re in the pre-production stage [and are] currently working on final arrangements, lyrical placement and content.”
He added, “Each album is an evolution process. As always, we take the key elements that are SUFFOCATION, add current feelings and outside influences, the begin collaborating. We’re very happy with the direction we’re headed!”
Relapse Records released SUFFOCATION‘s only official live record, “The Close Of A Chapter: Live In Quebec City”, on October 27, 2009 in North America and November 2, 2009 internationally. Recorded in 2005 during the band’s “Souls To Deny” world tour, the CD contains the band’s complete, unedited performance.
SUFFOCATION‘s latest album, “Blood Oath” (Nuclear Blast), sold around 3,600 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 135 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD landed at position No. 2 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.
The follow-up to 2006’s self-titled record, “Blood Oath” was recorded with Joe Cincotta (who worked on the band’s last two releases) and was mixed by Zack Ohren (ALL SHALL PERISH, DECREPIT BIRTH). The cover artwork was once again brought to life by Jon Zig (DEEDS OF FLESH, DISGORGE, GORGASM).