We’ve been sweating Left To Suffer for a hot minute. Reigning from Atlanta, the nu-deathcore outfit burst into the scene like a tornado with debut album A Year of Suffering in 2020, followed by their On Death EP in 2021 (including tracks like ‘Anger‘), featuring guests from stand-out bands like Crystal Lake, Alpha Wolf and Chelsea Grin; which really cemented Left To Suffer in the heavy music world.
Following their breakthrough EP, the U.S. heavy five-piece kept on swinging and released a bunch of wild singles in the past year. Just spin tracks like ‘D.N.R.‘ with Lorna Shore‘s Will Ramos and Ov Sulfur‘s Ricky Hoover or ‘Fixated‘ featuring Trap artist Kamiyada to get a feel for how big the collabs have been getting. However, if features don’t impress you much, 2022 delivered ‘Overwhelming Power‘ and ‘Fatal Attraction‘, which are guaranteed to dilate your pupils with their sheer heaviness.
Fast-forward to mid-2022 and they’re set to drop their sophomore EP, and it’s shaping up to be a big one, with the release including a bunch of the tracks listed above.
With And Dying Forever on the brink of release worldwide, we had to finally eclipse the ongoing bromance between us (just me really) and vocalist Taylor Barber, as the tension was just building too much. Barber took time away from tracking more vocals (yes, even more new music on their horizon) to give me the track-by-track down-low on the new EP, as well as chatting about all things Left To Suffer, deathcore, along with scoops like working with Three Days Grace and featuring on Darko (US)‘s new single ‘Ana‘.
Still reeling with excitement from the forthcoming release day, Barber shares that the day their music comes out, it feels like Christmas. “We get to put it out and see what people think about it. It’s been pretty overwhelmingly positive so far, [but] I’m always nervous to an extent, but more excited than nervous.”
Revealing they’ve been sitting on this EP for a little while, the vocalist delves into more front-of-mind tunes amidst their current trip through California, particularly an area of interest where I observed him interacting with Three Days Grace drummer Neil Sanderson on Twitter about a collaboration of sorts (read our 3DG interview here). We finally got the 411 on what’s happening there.
— Taylor Barber (@taylorsuffers) February 26, 2022
“So it’s not this EP that’s coming out on July 8th,” that Sanderson worked on with the band. “It’s gonna be some music that’s coming later this year, maybe early next year, just depending on what our release schedule looks like. But yeah, we are writing with Neil and Howard Benson.”
Sanderson and Benson run a record label and production team in LA called Judge & Jury, and that’s why Sanderson approached Barber to work together. After chatting on socials, the Three Days Grace drummer told Barber that they “have a lot of potential, and all this other stuff, gassing me up and asking me what we could do, so we got him in touch with Jeff, our manager, and then the rest was history.”
The fusion of genres gets even more interesting as Barber shares – “we’re trying to get Three Days Grace singer (Matt Walst) on a track“. This recording tour on the U.S. West Coast is certainly shaping up for Left To Suffer who are also recording music with Matt Thomas, owner of Ashton Audio. “He did all the Darko stuff that you’re hearing and he’s the one who did the new SPITE record.” Safe to say deathcore fans will be in for a treat.
Speaking of Darko, the rumour mill continued the debate as to whether Barber is in fact brothers with Darko/Chelsea Grin‘s (and formally Lorna Shore) vocalist Tom Barber, after ‘Ana‘ was released.
“I’ve been friends with Baby J (of Darko) for probably like a year or two now, we’ve been kind of like internet friends and we started seeing each other on tours. Tom, you know, I’ve obviously looked up to him since he was in Lorna,” however when calling him up on whether that slip-up has ended the brother rumour, Barber laughs hysterically and says “it’s an interesting topic,” and argues he looked up to his brother in Lorna Shore, but we reckon it’s all a farce.
After a bunch of laughter and effortless hanging out with the Left To Suffer vocalist, we thought we’d better get down to business and chat about their looming EP And Dying Forever, so here it is – your official track by track – starting with the opener…
1. ‘Rest Your Head‘
“So, ‘Rest Your Head’ was a song that actually me and my old roommate made together – he’s not in the band. His name’s Chris Davis and I used to live with him for probably about two and a half years and he’s just a guitarist. We were recording because I lived at his house and he had a little in-home studio that I used all the time to record sh*t. So, we were in there like really baked one day. We just made Rest Your Head with this opening line that’s so heavy. We sent it to my band and we were like ‘yo, what do you guys think about this?’
Everybody was like, ‘holy shit, this f*cking slaps.’ The world hadn’t completely opened back up fully yet, so we were just doing everything by ourselves, recording and then sending it off to Josh Travis. That song was written a couple of songs into what we were writing and we were like ‘yeah this is a great opening track’.”
Before letting Barber continue, I was amazed by the inclusion of Joshua Travis (Emmure, Glass Cloud, The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, The Goddamn Rodeo, Monuments and When Knives Go Skyward) who just released his debut EP No Rest via SharpTone Records, featuring guests like Ryo Kinoshita of Crystal Lake, Jamie Hails and Jake Steinhauser of Polaris, Ryan Kirby of Fit For a King and a whole lot more. Needless to say, it was impressive to hear Travis mixed the whole forthcoming Left To Suffer EP.
“‘Weary’ was a song that I think our bass player started writing while we were in the studio, that was like one of those that kind of came pretty organically while we were together and passing the guitar around, and I would throw ideas in, and I’m kind of like the engineer adding post-production samples to our music, along with doing all the lyrics and sh*t.
But yeah, we were sitting there one day and I remember he was like playing these chords and they were so weird sounding, and then we made it this whole intro and it kind of came together and it’s crazy ’cause that’s the only track on this EP that has no breakdown. Obviously, we like to break it down, everybody likes them, and we were like, ‘yeah, let’s have one song that’s just riff-driven’. It’s got this catchy hook and is very easy to listen to, it’s not jarring to anybody who like doesn’t like metal, it’s an easy listen.”
3. ‘Overwhelming Power‘
“I remember specifically when we were writing that one – ‘To The Hellfire’ (debut single from Lorna Shore with Will Ramos) had just come out when we wrote it, and we were like ‘that was a such a heavy song’, so we were really inspired by its grit of heaviness. We were like ‘we want to write a really, really heavy song’. So, we went in there and we wrote that breakdown first, that really heavy one right in the middle, it was f*cking dumb heavy. So, we started adding all these riffs around it and we were like ‘let’s take it back to our roots because our first album that we put out was very deathcore and very heavy.”
Cutting Barber off before he continued chatting through the EP, we had to delve into that timestamp of Will Ramos‘ feature on standalone track ‘D.N.R.‘ compared with his debut on Lorna Shore‘s’ ‘To The Hellfire‘. “‘D.N.R.’ was basically right after he announced he was in Lorna Shore, I can’t remember exactly the timetable that it fell into, but I’ve been friends with Will for a little bit before he was in Lorna, and he’s just always been a homie,” so he asked Ramos to feature on the track.
He goes on to confirm that “The deathcore community is so rad and so tight-knit, I haven’t really met a lot of people that are just really shitty to be around. Everyone seems really chill all the time.”
“This is an interesting song. I found this sample on a sample website called Splice that we use a lot and I found this little beat, and then I was like ‘what if we took the guitars and just made it like the 808 and could do it a rap beat’ and [the band] were kind of confused at first, but it turned out real f*cking groovy. We really wanted to incorporate different genres into our music, like a trap metal artist or something to feature on a song. We wanted to get a true rapper to do something with us, like old school KoRn did with Ice Cube.
“We just are very influenced by nu-metal. We enjoy that aspect of making music and like doing collaborations that are just outside of our genre – like keeping it close but not straying too far, whilst also incorporating something that’s not in our reservoir usually, like bake it into the mix to make it a bigger thing than what it is.
“That’s pretty much what we do with ‘Fixated’. We found Kamiyada and he did a feature for Within Destruction forever ago, so we were like ‘oh yeah, this guy’s f*cking sick. Our manager showed me ‘Metal in Me’, which is one of his EPs, so we got him to do the hook.”
“‘Whisper’ is probably one of the weirdest songs on the EP. It’s a very guitar flashy song ‘cause there’s a breakdown in it that’s literally the weirdest I’ve ever heard in my entire life. It’s just bizarre and it has a lot of our lead guitarist Jacob (Gordon) does a lot of the solo-esque guitar leads and stuff and we were like ‘just like rip it up over this part’ and it’s just like the most jarring, weird f*cking breakdown ever. Then we built the song around that and it was just kind of one of the songs that just happened.”
6. ‘Fatal Attraction‘
“So, this was a whole thing. We go into the studio and we’re talking about doing cleans. We’re like ‘do we incorporate cleans into this EP or do we keep this EP just super heavy?’ We’re in there and this song just kind of really fell together out of nowhere, and Jacob was sitting there playing this little riff over these drums that I put down, and it was super melodic. So, we’re like ‘we can still keep the heavy while doing this’ and then I was like ‘you want me to scream over this or sing?’ And they’re like ‘do whatever you want.’
I do all my vocals by myself, so I like took this instrumental home and was sitting there listening to it. I’m like ‘I need to like sing over this part, I got to do this whole thing’, so I tracked this demo out of the house, and I sent it. I remember everyone collectively being like ‘oh, bro, this is it, this is the moment.’ We were just so amped on how it came out, and like I gave it my all on it, just threw my whole back into this, scream singing like Architects, and make it really big.
When we listened to the final song, we were like ‘we can write sh*t like this, holy crap!’ It was like when you peel off a section of wrapping paper to expose the entireness of the gift or whatever.”
Dive in gang!
Interview by Ricky Aarons (@rickysaul90)
Stream Left To Suffer – And Dying Forever here
Left To Suffer – And Dying Forever tracklisting
1. Rest Your Head
3. Overwhelming Power
4. Fixated ft. Kamiyada
6. Fatal Attraction