As the cold winds of winter begin to roll in, it seems like the perfect time for a night of symphonic death metal. The small venue was near capacity by the time Newcastle prog metal four-piece The Seer came on, and they were greeted by a fervour of fists and horns. Combining many elements of the myriad of metal sub-genres, they did a great job of warming up the crowd. Giving the fans a taste of their forthcoming album The Empyreal Ordinance, they lashed the audience with thrash riffs, searing solos and guttural growls. New tracks The Lies Of The Gods, Devour The Earth and Leviathan went over well, and fan favourites Timeless and The Plague from 2014 album Prologue had plenty of heads banging. No official release date for the new album as yet, only that it will be “this year”.
Following on from The Seer were local orchestral doom metallers Rise of Avernus. I’ve seen these guys a few times now, and they never disappoint, mauling the masses with their unique blend of prog, doom and death metal. They played tracks from both of their releases Dramatis Personae and L’Appel du Vide, with the highlight being the blistering set closer, Acta Est Fabula.
Next up, it was the self-proclaimed ‘filth merchants’ from Perth, Earth Rot. Their music has been described as Black ‘n’ Death ‘n’ Grind ‘n’ Roll, a vignette that fits them very well. It is a celebration of all things disgusting and vile in this world, and their “couldn’t give a fuck” attitude is infectious. New album Renascentia has been receiving rave reviews, and tracks from said album Terraform and Panoptic Terror were equally as brutal in the live setting. They threw in some older stuff as well, with The Pact and Chthonian Virtues the standouts.
Then, one by one, the members of the mighty Fleshgod Apocalypse walked onto the stage to the orchestral intro March Royale. With the costumes, the mahogany body guitars, and the masquerade-masked buxom soprano, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d gone back in time to eighteenth-century Venice for a night at the dark opera. But, pageantry aside, Fleshgod Apocalypse are and amazing live band. From the opening note of In Aeternum, Tommaso Riccardi had the crowd under his command, and they screamed the lyrics back at him with uncurbed avidity. The sound was huge, the vocals were brutal, and Francesco Paoli’s double-kick was both pulverising and mesmerising.
The set list was relentless, with Healing Through War, Pathfinder, Cold As Perfection and The Violation inflaming the fans into a frenzy, headbanging, moshing, clapping and screaming. Each song seemed to build on its predecessor, culminating in a vicious wall of death, which lead into the skull-crushing Syphilis.
The band left the stage but came back for a couple more. In Honour Of Reason instigated a crazy moshpit, and then Riccardi dedicated the final song of the night, The Forsaking, to the late Chris Cornell.
This was a show for the ages. The band thrived under the adoration of their Sydney fans, each feeding off the energy of the other, and further enhancing Fleshgod Apocalypse’s reputation as being a prodigious live act. It would be great to see them playing larger venues in the not too distant future.
Photography by Jess Miller