[M]When fleshgod apocalypse was announced, the main reason I had for going was being advised by many around me that they were an incredible band, and as melodic death metal fan, I would love them. I was only fully convinced when I heard Xerath were one of the supports. Having seen them back in 2012 with Testament and Malefice, I had kept a great memory of this band, so here I went to yet again discover a new band.
[J] Ah… Fleshgod Apocalypse. One of my all time favourite bands with whom I was sadly unimpressed with at Bloodstock due to the sound being dire. After hearing that they were going to be playing a headline show, I decided immediately that I should go along. I also kept prodding Mel, telling her to come along and see them as well. I think it’s safe to say she enjoyed them, as evidenced later on in this review.
[M]The opening band this night was Ethereal from Liverpool, a death metal band with a very heavy style and fun face paint which looked like a nice mix between Behemoth and Immortal. Soundwise, as much as they were rather entertaining, the sound remained very generic to the Death Metal genre. Nonetheless they remained a good opener, and did a good job warming up the crowd for the bands to come. The frontman was very, and I mean VERY interactive with the Audience, often sharing his microphone with folks in the front row for a intro growl. To me, this is something which always fills my heart with warm running metal and I definitely would like to see it at most if not all death/ melo death gigs. (8/10)
[M]Next up was the band I was expecting, the British band Xerath, and I must say, I got the same great feeling I had back when they opened for Testament. They have the exact right balance in each song of melody and heavy riffing/ growling vocals to make every aspects of the song twirl into each other into perfect songs. One thing I did not remember from their last show was the guitarist, who very surprisingly was alone. I realised that night he was absolutely outstanding, watching his solos during every song was a pleasure and a jaw dropping event, Never thought I would say this… But John Petrucci has some competition. Having only one guitarist in a death metal band is taking a lot of risk in affecting the heaviness of the band. But I can say in all confidence that not only does it work, but it makes Xerath a band like no other. Managing to sound just as good if not better than many melo-death bands with one instrument less, my hat is off an flying just for them! The band was interactive with the Audience and I nearly wished they had been the headline for this show! The songs were so perfect, the members so involved, and of course the lead (and only) guitarist so stunningly talented, my night was already made by this point! This set has made me a bigger fan of Xerath than I was when I first saw them and now I cannot wait for them to come back with a Headline! (10/10)
[J] Upon finishing my 55 minute interview with Tomasso, I made my way into the venue just as Xerath were gearing up to go on stage. Having heard that they play reasonably technical stuff, I was intrigued as to how that would translate into a live performance. I must say, those gentleman are exceptionally talented! Playing what can be described as a mixture of technical death metal mashed in with melodic metal, the boys certainly got the balance of melody and technical playing just right. At points, I was reminded of a band whom I’m a big fan of, Fallujah. I highly recommend fans of melo-death to check out both Xerath and Fallujah as they are both amazing bands! (9/10)
[M] And finally, came the band I had been told so much about, the great Italians Fleshgod Apocalypse. And I must say, they truly are everything I have been told… And more! The band was what I would call a perfect symphonic death metal band, in every song they played, I felt a perfect synchronisation in the instruments which added up to amazing songs. Just like all death metal bands, I expected heaviness, however I found myself also finding them… Beautiful (yes, yes, cheese everywhere!). The songs seemed to flow so well, there really was no other word to describe it, and in no way am I implying it is a bad thing! It’s a very unique thing which I very eagerly enjoyed. The fact they had along with them an operatic singer made the music even more … Well… Beautiful to the ears, the band was truly stunning! The stage was not particularly decorated bar the banner of their names at the back, but the simple fact they were dressed noblemen and woman (I believe from the 18th Century) was enough of a stage show to make you believe you had travelled back in time. Every single member had a presence of his/her own and made the stage look as full and decorated as If we truly were in an old noble castle listening to amazing symphonic music. A special well-done must also be said to the drummer who on the night seemingly was badly ill, nonetheless he managed to keep going the whole setlist and did not flinch, the drums were always as fast as I believe they are in their songs and it showed a dedication that is always loved from bands. I definitely made a great discovery tonight, and I cannot wait to see them again, this time a fan of the band and able to give them even more praising than I already have!
[J] Now, onto the band whom I most looking forward to seeing. Having spoken with Tomasso (Guitar and Harsh Vocals) previously, he’d mentioned that they would be playing 3 songs from the new album and a mixture of songs from across their 4 albums. Opening with “In Aeternum”, the band exploded on stage with gusto and immediately got the crowd fired up. Playing their traditional mix of orchestral music and technical death metal, the band delivered a steallar performance and looked as though they were thoroughly enjoying themselves.
During “Cold as Perfection” Veronica (Soprano vocals) and Tomasso, had a bit of a play on stage where they almost face off against one another whilst each of them was singing. This made for an interesting interlude to the swathes of windmilling and head-banging and was honestly very enjoyable to watch. Just before they played “The Violation”, Francesco Paoli (Drummer) took a turn for the worse and they had to stop the show momentarily. I was slightly worried about him, I’d heard from the sound guy that he wasn’t well and also observed him having a nap in the van prior to them playing. Thankfully, he managed to soldier on and finish off the set with a double whammy of “The Violation” and “The Forsaking”. Having a crystal clear sound did wonders for the band as everything was audible and clear, a stark change from last years Bloodstock performance. In short, the band delivered a stunning set and I advise people to go an check them out. You shouldn’t be disappointed. (11/10)
Fleshgod Apocalypse setlist:
- Marche Royale
- In Aeternum
- The Deceit
- Cold As Perfection
- Requiem In Se Minor
- The Fool
- The Egoism
- The Violation
- The Forsaking