Live Gig Review by: Zenae Zukowski
© Dhruv Kumar
All live Photos by Dhruv Kumar
It is only February, and already there have been quite a few great live Metal shows for 2016. On Friday, February 12th at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City was no different as Italian Death Metallers Fleshgod Apocalypse made an appearance to support their fourth studio release of King. This night was the fifth slot of their Headlining trek which kicked off on February 8th in Orlando, Florida and concludes on February 27th in Austin Texas at the Dirty Dog. Joining them on this tour added even more excitement to the Extreme Metal community as Carach Angren and Abigail Williams teamed up for this highly anticipated tour. On this particular evening, the Gramercy Theatre added a local act for support which was just another great taste to this Metal recipe as Brooklyn’s own Winter Nights were there to jump start the night of Metal bliss.
Winter Nights formed in 2007 and had been covering music based on death, the afterlife, and even brutal survival ever since. The current line-up includes members Jeremy Farfan (lead vocals/guitar), Efrain Farfan (lead guitar/vocals), Martin Tune (bass) and Andrew Lobosco (drums). They are unsigned. However, that has not stopped them sharing the stage with bands such as Insomnium, Morbid Angel, Dark Tranquility, and Krisiun. This evening was no different as they performed tracks such as “Encounters of the Frozen North,” “Starved For Energy,” A Dark Awakening,” The Pleasures of War,” “A Doomsday Code,” and “Bury Me Inside This Unmarked Grave.” The performance in itself remained dark and energetic. They engaged with each other and were strictly there to perform their music with little direct interaction with the crowd. It was only until the very end when they mentioned fans would get a free Metal cupcake after buying merchandise at their booth once the performance was complete.
Next up were the Black Metallers from Olympia, WA, originally from Phoenix, AZ, Abigail Williams. Formed in 2004 and after ongoing line-up changes, the principle members include Ken Sorceron and Jeff Wilson. The band has battled a rocky road of on and off again performances and hiatuses yet that has not stopped them from creating new music. Currently, they are supporting their fourth studio album with The Accuser, which was released in October 2015 by Candlelight Records. This evening they hid their faces well behind hoodies and microphones as they bled out an amazingly dark and atmospheric performance. The house was beyond packed at this point which lately has not been happening at most shows in NYC for openers. Highlight tracks include “Beyond the Veil” and “Lost Communion.”
As the moshers and crowd surfers were ready for more, it was time for the Horror Metallers from the Netherlands Carach Angren to haunt the stage. The principle members include Seregor (vocals/guitar), Ardek (orchestration and keyboards) and Namtar (drums). Currently signed with Season of Mist and promoting the latest release from February 2015 This is No Fairytale. Ready to annihilate the stage with a powerful and terrifying performance as the set ignited with a dark and gloomy tone. It reminded me of death mixed with immortality, and I thought it was brilliant. The set began with “There’s No Place Like Home,” “The Sighting is a Portent of Doom,” “Lingering in an Imprint Haunting” and “When Crows Tick on Windows.” Initiating the next piece as it was explained being about “how someone’s head will get crushed” during “The Carriage Wheel Murder” caused an incredible amount of mayhem in the mosh pit. Other tracks include, “Spectral Infantry Battalions,” “Bitte Tötet Mich,” “Two Flies Flew Into a Black Sugar Cobweb” and “Bloodstains on the Captain’s Log.” The movement and energy was incredible as they proved to be great direct openers for Fleshgod Apocalypse.
Finally it was time for Fleshgod Apocalypse and I could not have been more amazed by their incredible performance. Initially formed in 2007 however, for me it was their second studio album 2011’s Agony where I became a huge fan. I have never seen them live before, so this night in particular made it extra special. The main members include Tommaso Riccardi (vocals/guitar), Paolo Rossi (vocals/bass), Cristiano Trionfera (vocals/guitar), Francesco Paoli (drums/guitar/vocals), and Francesco Ferrini (piano/orchestra). Kicking off on the stage as dramatic as ever adding classical, medieval and all around Extreme Metal to the mix, it released an incredible amount of enthusiasm into the crowd. The set opened up with the introduction from the latest King album with “March of Royale” and “In Aeternum,” followed by “Minotaur (The Wrath of Poseidon) from 2013’s Labyrinth.
Before “Pathfinder” kicked in, Ricardi raised a glass of red wine to the crowd as he saluted to his beloved NYC fans. He expressed how everyone wanted freedom and those who receive it will have to sacrifice as that was what the next track, “Pathfinder” was about. Riccardi described the next piece being about a man who wore a mask in order to hide his sadness and regret, where “The Fool” from the latest King ignited. Riccardi continued to get the crowd moving and cheering as the set continued with tracks including “Prologue” and “Epilogue” from 2013’s Labyrinth. Shortly after, the band departed the stage and left fans hanging to wonder if there would be an encore or if it was in fact the end of the show. Moments passed and the band hit the stage once more and concluded the evening with tracks such as the classic “In Honour of Reason” from 2009’s debut album of Oracles and “The Forsaking” from 2011’s Agony.
Fleshgod Apocalypse left the stage with no worry nor fear. It was an incredible performance, one where any fan could get lost in their music and forgetting how much time has slipped by. One of the greatest shows in a while as Fleshgod Apocalypse have proven to be a terrific headlining act. It was all around a wonderful night and none of the bands disappointed me whatsoever. It is a shocking performance, with a lineup filled with a darkened energy as Fleshgod Apocalypse ruled the stage with a Classical formal and memorable taste. If anyone has a chance please give Fleshgod Apocalypse’s King a listen.