There was definitely ‘Signs of a Swarm in the moshpit at this sold out show tonight…
November continues to be coming in hot with some of the best Deathcore acts visiting the Pacific Northwest. Tonight, we see local acts Bayonet Dismemberment as well as Truent, along with deathcore heavy weights To the Grave and headliners Signs of the Swarm. We have been salivating to see this sold-out show at The Wise in Vancouver Canada since it was announced months ago and this should be a banger.
Signs of the Swarm is a four piece band that has had quite a few personnel changes since their inception with the latest being Carl Schulz (guitar), Michael Cassese (bass). The vocalist David Simonich has been around since 2018 and Bobby Crow who is the drummer, is the only founding member keeping the project alive.
They have been making music since 2014, with 5 full length albums since 2016. Their latest addition to the discography is under their new label with Century Media Records called Amongst the Low & Empty, which released in late July 2023. If you into 100% extreme deathcore with no clean vocals, this album is a total slapper that doesn’t disappoint. They have been quite busy since we last saw them in 2018 in Vancouver, as they have released 3 albums in that timeframe. How well does it translate live though?
Tonight they start off their 2nd ever visit to Vancouver with “Between Fire & Stone” from the new album, and David wastes no time with organizing the moshpit. By the end of song 2 “Pray for Death”, I was reminded where I am, which is in a small hall with sound that is just not like the usual metal facility being the Rickshaw Theatre, which has supreme sound for such a show. I realize drums are forefront in a lot of deathcore, but they seemed overwhelming the guitar abit too much in the mix as I notice in song 3 with “Borrowed Time”.
The first 5 songs were from the new album Amongst the Low & Empty with songs 4 and 5 being the title track as well as “Tower of Torsos”.
Song 6 with “Hymns of Invocation” Simonich commands the horde with “…this one, I need the fastest fucking circle pit this room will see, spin this room Vancouver…!” as the audience complies with a quick circular sprint in the middle of the dance floor. I get a workout just watching them bust a move and wipeout. Song 7 is “DREAMKILLER” and Simonich’s deep, gargling, screaming voice is hanging in there like we hear on the albums. I mention this because some of the deathcore bands I see, the vocalist just can’t maintain that intensity the entire night and tend to revert to clean vocals at times, which can be somewhat disappointing.
Swarm tend to use a lot of sound bits and synth pieces in their recordings as with song 8 with “Malady”, as we get blitz of rapid drumming from Crow’s snare drum. They have no one do that sampling or keyboard work live, so they rely on recorded backing tracks to fill that in, does it work? Sometimes, sometimes it just sounds drowned out and lost in the mix, especially if it’s just lost in a facility like the Wise as noticed with song 9 “Death Whistle”. I am I complaining? Not so much, but it is, what it is. with smaller shows like this. Love to see this band at the Rickshaw with much bigger sound the next go around.
Its encore time, as the deathcore denizens scream “One more song!”. I swear if bassist Cassese didn’t spur them on when he departed the stage with his bring-it -on type hand wave, the audience might of left as most were looking for the doors. But we got what we wanted, and they did a surprise song which I don’t think Seattle got the night prior (I believe they got “Totem”), with “The Collection” from the Absolvere opus. About midway of that, Andrew Baena of Carcosa grabs a mic and does some of the more “cleaner” parts. Nice to see those Carcosa guys in the house, I saw most of the band there tonight supporting their bandmate. Andrew later told me they are still trying to put songs together for an album but had no solid release date when that might happen.
All in all, this was a solid (or as solid) of a performance from Signs of the Swarm. I am not sure, maybe they need an extra rhythm guitar player to make the sound more punchy and heavy as their albums? All their albums are incredibly devastating to listen to, I just missed the guitar on this, maybe the mix was off? At one point in near the end of the show Simonich asked the audience to put up their hand if you have seen us before, I think one person did. So that is maybe why Swarm concentrate on the new album on this tour with 7 songs and the other 3 were from the previous album Obsolvere. Other than that the rest was great and I was impressed with Simonich’s on stage presence and control of the audience. Likewise with Crow’s pulverizing display on drums, and the bass low end from Cassese. Next tour I hope to see them at a larger facility in Vancouver (like the Rickshaw), as I believe that will really showcase their sound. I think they, and the fans would eat that right up.