On Nov. 12 the Decibel Defiance Tour passed through Springfield, Va., bringing Suffocation, the Faceless, Through the Eyes of the Dead, Decrepit Birth, Fleshgod Apocalypse and ten local bands to Jaxx. Even minus all the people in bands, the club was packed and ready to mosh.

Decrepit Birth frontman Bill Robinson credited metal's beginnings to just a couple of bands, and he admitted that "[Suffocation] was one of them." Even though Suffocation wasn't one of the first death metal bands, they sure as hell remain one of the most influential bands. Their first release in 1991, 'Effigy of the Forgotten,' spawned not just one, but two subgenres in metal: slam and deathcore. There are few bands in the world who will leave behind that kind of legacy.

As Suffocation and their crew set up their gear and did a quick sound check, people panted in anticipation (yes, this Noisecreep writer was one of them). Drummer Mike Smith stepped out in a hoodie to sit on his throne. A couple minutes later -- and when the whole band was onstage -- we learned that Smith is now hairless. Those signature Suffo-dreads are gone. But have no fear, guitarist Terrance Hobbs is still sporting the dread-skullet.

"I need you guys to scream. It drowns the voices out of my head," frontman Frank Mullen said before talking to the voices in his head. And after telling all the local bands that they "need to start somewhere," he gave us the most important lesson of the night.

"I'm excited for the big holiday. You know, the one that only comes once in a lifetime," Mullen said. He was talking about the apocalypse. "Have a bottle of whiskey in one hand, a shotgun in the other, and just go out with a bang!"

If you haven't already, be sure to grab Decrepit Birth's 'Polarity' and Suffocation's 'Blood Oath.' Both are available through Nuclear Blast. For fans of melodic tech-death, the Faceless told us after the Decibel Defiance Tour, they are "going home to write a new CD."

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