New York death metal pioneers Suffocation have reportedly parted ways with drummer Mike Smith. As one of death metal's most powerful and respected drummers, the loss of Smith would be a huge blow to Suffocation as well as a reason for fans of the band to mourn.

Mike Smith started off as the original drummer for Suffocation in 1989, lending his talents for the band's classic debut album, 'Effigy of the Forgotten.' Smith is credited for bringing the blast beat to death metal and inventing the technique of using the high hat / snare combination for his blasts.

Smith posted the following statement on his official Facebook page:

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 2 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[d] 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.

Smith's departure has not been officially confirmed by Smith or the band, but former Suffocation drummer Dave Culross, who was with the band from 1996 - 1998, has been manning the drums for the band on the band's recent East Coast tour dates.