2017 is still young and yet one of the heaviest line-up's this year rolled into London on the back-end of a performance in Paris, Fleshgod Apocalypse were on the last few dates of their European run that saw them and their supporting buddies in Carach Angren and Nightland rack up over ten countries.
Italy's most extreme metal band has visited London endless times, 9 or 10 if you were to count and yet the expectation was riding even higher on the Classical-Death Metal outfit as this was their first ever headlining tour. Sure they had support from the Dutch Symphonic / Melodic Black Metal horde Carach Angren and their own fellow-countrymen in the form of Nightland, this did not however make them sweat one bit - despite the cold outside the didn't seem phased by the bitter English weather at all.
Who'd have thought that a band like Nightland were virtually unheard of in this part of Europe and yet with their magical combination of Symphonic Death Metal and on-stage armour-clad outfits, they came with the ferocity of a thousand stallions rampaging through the old Roman towns and cities of Italia. Here is a band who try to emulate the apocalyptic sound that Fleshgod Apocalypse have nurtured but simultaneously try to resist becoming a fad or indeed a clone, they manage to pull it off.
Sure the notable absence of a pianist helps, but truth be told Nightland dealt their cards well with this performance as the crowd bathed in their mighty, yet mesmerising performance and craft. They certainly knew how to get the party started (and this is not a P!nk reference) but more so knew how to crack the London audience, after all some of the British metalheads can be a tough crowd to arouse if not motivate to spark moshpits and related motions found within the metal music repertoire.
No doubt Nightland done themselves proud and will certainly be welcomed back to these shores with open arms in the times ahead.
[8/10] RHYS STEVENSON
Carach Angren are no strangers to the European circuit having pillaged and rampaged across the European plains for many years, blasting their infectious mix of Symphonic and Melodic Black Metal whilst adding horror and ghost stories to the fray. A perfect partner to Fleshgod Apocalypse, the Dutch horde demanded immediate attention when it came to their slaying performance.
No show is a show without some form of theatrics (lets be honest), so when Ardek's keyboard is shown to move up, down, left, right, sideways and horizontally, the crowd practically wet themselves as the motion demonstrated is one of complete amazement but more so gives the impression of being on a ship... cue The Flying Dutchman. But given their overall performance, it would be nice to see Carach Angren grace some UK festivals this year, this was deserving of a slot by far.
Ardek at one point donned a mask that was very reminiscent of The Purge artwork, so despite it's creepy nature the aesthetic was sensual and sexual simultaneously; yes there is such as a thing as a ghost orgy. As song after song came rallying out like a machine gun on endless rounds, it was time for the hauntings to cease and for the renaissance to step in... cue Fleshgod Apocalypse.
Hail to the Fleshgod Apocalypse, hail to the King! This is what was chanted by the already aroused crowd as the anthemic crescendo tune of 'Marche Royale' erupted into the venue as the Italian classical maestros made their way on stage, unfortunately Cristiano Trionfera was not in attendance but his stand-in replacement (whose name one has forgotten) done justice and would have made signor Trionfera rather proud.
In fact as the traditional quintet (with exception to the minor personnel change) and Veronica Bordacchini (live opera vocals) led the charge with 'In Aeternum', 'The Fool' and 'The Violation' as the stapled songs in their set-list, few could argue that Fleshgod Apocalypse are Italy's latest successful metal export and are ones who join the upper echelons that Lacuna Coil are perched on. Having the expected swig of wine during the performance, Tommaso looked rather stern at the media, suspecting his bottle of limoncello had been taken (of course this is not true... yet limoncello is undoubtedly nice).
This was a performance to savour and as Fleshgod Apocalypse finished their set with the epic melodic tune 'The Forsaken', it was a night that will live long in the memories of those who attended for here were three bands who despite having different styles of symphonic metal at their very foundations, all indulge in the extreme metal faculty and do so with such admirable interest. As they would say in Italy, 'tutto è bene che riesce bene'.
[8.5/10] RHYS STEVENSON
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