The decision was pretty much inevitable. When we first reunited, the economy was in a much different place and I was able to make Suffocation my full-time job. Over the last few years the ability to tour and support a house, family and all it entails, became a strain on myself and my family. Once you reach a certain point financially, decisions have to be made before falling to a point of no return.
-- Mike Smith in an interview with Sick Drummer Magazine
This is Smith's second departure from Suffocation, as he originally left the band in 1994, shortly after the release of 1993's Breeding the Spawn. Suffocation continued on without Smith for two albums, 1995's Pierced From Within and 1998's Despise the Sun, before temporarily retiring.
The remaining band members were inactive from 1998 to 2001, but when Suffocation resurfaced in 2002, Smith rejoined old bandmates, Frank Mullen (vocals) and Terrance Hobbs (guitar).
Veteran metal drummer Dave Culross will take over for Smith as Suffocation continue to tour North America and Europe this summer. Culross has previously worked with Suffocation, performing live and on the 1998 EP, Despise The Sun.