Distant & Left To Suffer – Gig Review 9th September @ The Cobalt, Vancouver, BC

Distant & Left To Suffer
The Cobalt, Vancouver, British Columbia
September 9th, 2023
Supports: CABAL and Misyrion

As they rise above the boundaries of brutality across North America, deathcore heavyweights Distant and Left To Suffer wielded their instruments as weapons of auditory destruction into the southwest Canadian city of Vancouver, along with friends in CABAL and Misyrion. With this incredibly talented lineup bringing full force, it is safe to say that this gathering at Vancouver’s The Cobalt was not just another gig. Instead, it was a celebration of music – where heavy deathcore sounds meet musicianship and artistry.

Unfortunately for this Aussie abroad, Justice For The Damned had to cancel their performance at this show last minute due to having issues crossing the USA/Canadian border – meaning that the slice of home pie I was anticipating was not to be indulged.

I arrived at the venue to be greeted by a lengthy queue that was moving at a steady pace. Anticipation was in the air as the Vancouver deathcore community urged to catch a glimpse of local act Misyrion. As they took to the stage, I couldn’t help but notice each member’s different dress styles – the sense of individuality and uniqueness was something that I loved from the very start. As they began to perform their blackened death metal sound, I was taken back by guitarist and vocalist Claine ‘Gorgoth’ Lamb. With black makeup running down her face, the vocalist exerted her low-range, unclean vocals, spitting venom into the mic while putting her talented guitar skills to use and leaving everyone’s jaw on the floor.

The four-piece’s riff-heavy tracks had the crowd in their grip, with guitarist Charlie Kratz and drummer Connor Gordon maintaining their position at the forefront of that movement with their undeniable skill and experience, making this an unforgettable start to the festivities.

Danish deathcore heroes CABAL were next up to display their sheer brutality. Similarly to when we caught this class act in Melbourne at the beginning of this year, vocalist Andreas Bjulver held a blatantly aggressive and almost demonic ‘in your face’ presence while keeping a lively and animated composure as he moved across the stage delivering his gutturals and growls. He displays ultimate frontman energy as he seemingly casts a hypnotic spell over the fans and effortlessly draws people in as he captures every bit of the entire room’s attention. Despite this group’s bone-crushing riffs and out-of-this-world breakdowns, movement from the concertgoers was minimal for the most part.

That was until crowd participation in the form of mic-grabs began to occur towards the end of the quintet’s set. The guitar duo of Chris Kreutzfeldt and Christian Hammer Mattesen created a whirlwind of low-tuned delightful and immersive deathcore riffs that kept me exhilaratingly banging my head through this rather memorable set, particularly through fan favourites ‘Voilent Ends‘, ‘Exit Wounds‘ and of course ‘Exsanguination‘. Reflecting on this performance, I am excited to catch this group again as they continue to pursue world domination.

The moment I had been anticipating the most had finally come. It was time for Atlanta, Georgia-based deathcore group Left To Suffer to take to the stage to perform their 2023 album Feral in full, as well as hits ‘Loathe’, ‘D.N.R’ and ‘Anger’. This was the five-piece’s first time performing in the fine city of Vancouver, and needless to say, the energy surrounding this set was electrifying.

Vocalist Taylor Barber, who is also one of five members of Project: Vengeance, made his presence known by yelling mosh-call-outs, encouraging the mostly motionless room of deathcore supporters to get physical, which was quite effective. As the group burst into the first track, ‘Feral‘, a large circle pit erupted from within the crowd. This momentum was carried through until the end of the group’s performance, making the concertgoers almost unrecognisable from the group of fans who had watched the previous two bands perform.

It’s no wonder why Barber has quickly gained a name for himself as one of the strongest vocalists in deathcore in recent years. For every lyric he sings, he manages to execute his vocal delivery effortlessly and flawlessly, without any sign of strain or struggle. In fact, he makes it look effortless to belt out a wide range of high, mid and low vocals like he does. It is simply magnificent to behold.

As the group performed through their eleven-track set list, it became clear that Vancouver’s deathcore community has welcomed Left To Suffer to their city with open arms – the loud singalongs from the punters, particularly during tracks ‘Artificial Anatomy‘, ‘Disappoint Me‘ and of course ‘Loathe‘ made it evident that this group will always be welcomed back. Towards the end of the set, an audience member made it known that it was his birthday, at which point Taylor took the time to encourage the entire room to wish this individual happy birthday, putting an ear-to-ear smile on his face as Barber gave him a special moment on his special day.

Lastly, it was time for European downtempo deathcore act Distant to cap off the night’s festivities as they hit the stage during their first visit to Vancouver. As the four-piece began playing their first track, ‘Hull of Crows,’ my eye was caught by the sparkling guitar of Nouri Yetgin as he shredded (believe me when I say he shredded) through the group’s ten-track setlist, his pink glitter-covered guitar glimmered in the stage lights which is something I thought was unique. The guitarist’s raw talent in itself was almost something you would have to bear witness to to believe it exists.

Also holding my attention was vocalist Alan Grnja; that man’s unclean voice knows no bounds. As Grnja impressively displayed his soaring highs and lower-than-hell lows, I couldn’t help but shake my head in amazement and disbelief. If I had to give the frontman a title, I would class him as a pig squeal extraordinaire. Grnja’s stage presence is also highly noteworthy. How he holds eye contact with the audience as he sings into the mic is intimidating and thrilling, especially when he stomps the stage during the build-up to a breakdown. His high-spirited and vigorous demeanour was immensely entertaining and enjoyable. 

As my eyes bounced between the highly energetic Grnja and skillful guitar mastery of Yetgin, I couldn’t help but notice the composure of drummer Jan Mato as he elegantly yet quickly paced through songs without any issues. He seemingly could have executed this high-octane performance with his eyes closed, a true master of his craft! With all of these different moving parts executed superbly, this group performed like a well-oiled machine, living up to their strong reputation as a thriving group of musicians.

Crowd involvement peaked throughout this set, with quite a sizeable wall of death executed early on. This set also saw several fans crowd-surf from the front of the venue to the back, with that being just another sign of pleasure from the delighted venue full of fans. Ending their set with a big crowd photo, the room of gruntled heavy music supporters happily obliged, finishing the night with a wholesome moment.

This display of deathcore camaraderie was a relentless sonic attack on the senses, which was not for the faint-hearted. Each band that performed left me hanging for more as they pushed the confines of heavy music to a devoted crowd… what more could you ask for?!

Distant Setlist:

Hull of Crows
The Eternal Lament
Born of Blood
Hollow Eyes
Heirs of Torment

Left To Suffer Setlist:

Artificial Anatomy
Primitive Urge
Break The Fever
Illusion of Sleep
Disappoint Me
Consistent Suffering

Gig Review by Adam Rice

About Adam 'Ricey' Rice (133 Articles)
A young music enthusiast who dives into a world created by an artist then returns to reality to express what he experienced in writing.