APRIL 12th 2014
Review by Anka
Photos by Peter Ruttan

The Best in Brutality Tour 2014 brought a wicked lineup to Vancouver.  Legendary Broken Hope, with support from Fallujah, Rivers of Nihil plus a few local guests assaulted the tiny and dim Biltmore Cabaret on Thursday night. I was pretty surprised to see the Biltmore half empty, but by the end of the show, even as part of a smaller crowd than usual, I realized that what I had just witnessed had been quite a privilege.
First band to take the stage was Dig Your Graves, a loud 4-piece band from Vancouver.  These guys are a young, angry bunch who play a twisted brand of sludgy hardcore but with a lower energy level than I had expected from such a band. Opening a show for a small audience is never easy for anyone, but in this case even if they didn’t manage to make the people stand up, at least they did command some attention and showed they are perfectly capable to evolve into a killer live band very soon.
Second band Galactic Pegasus from BC changed the atmosphere radically. With a bigger sound than themselves, their aggressive "groove" metal with hardcore elements contrasted their tame image.  Some tech-y twists made everything more interesting for me personally. Best part? A mosh-pit started and the energy was restored.
Since the band Kublai Khan was not able to make it to Vancouver, the third to take the stage was Rivers of Nihil, one of the night’s most awaited acts. The Pennsylvania quintet assaulted our ears with a technical-death metal rampage at a mad pace from start to finish. I think this band’s set was the moment when most people calmed down and watched in wonder, jaw dropped and all – because that was the only reaction that came naturally.
Fallujah pretty much continued this trend. And without a doubt, this band was my main attraction on this bill. This was my third time seeing them, but it’s never too much as it just never gets boring. Their atmospheric touches balance perfectly with the technicality of their ‘artsy’ death metal and give it an otherworldly feel. Besides that, the musicianship and the stage presence are all guarantees of a show that feels way too short every time.
Broken Hope was the surprise of the night for me. Since I can’t count myself among the long-time fans, and only have some average knowledge of the band, I was pretty blown away to experience this performance that “melted” my face. I guess this was the moment when I forgot how all the previous vocalists sounded that night, all I could focus on was Damian Leski‘s guttural vocal tone from hell; granted, the old school death metal sound brings comfort to a nostalgic heart, but the precise execution captivates and keeps you pinned in front of the stage, practically watching in disbelief. Tight, heavy, mean and demolishing -  this is still an insufficient choice of words to describe Broken Hope live, inclusive of their ability to have such amazing stage presence without doing much actually, just displaying their natural attitude and grit.
Maybe the timing for the Vancouver stop wasn’t in their favor, since the next day brought a major tour here, but I am pretty sure we could have had more people interested in such a perfect lineup. It’s not just a matter of supporting your local bands, but also touring bands that have been passionately doing this for a long time – which, if it’s not praiseworthy, it’s at least worth a listen.