St Patrick’s Day is a day about drinking and being merry, but for me it was about watching some quality death metal courtesy of Italy’s Fleshgod Apocalypse in a rammed and sweaty Camden Underworld.
On this tour there was a different local opener each night, which is a fantastic opportunity for a lucky band from the local scene. The honour of opening the ceremonies in London fell to Brighton’s Hades Lab. They are a band that have a big presence of social media and have had the opportunity to play major events such as Incineration Festival in London. Hades Lab weren’t amazing, but they were good fun. They’re a group that is clearly going to grow and build upon the extensive fan base they already have. Alongside their original material, they also added in covers of Suffocation‘s ‘Infecting The Crypt’ and Sepultura‘s ‘Troops of Doom’ for good measure, allowing a crowd unfamiliar with their work to connect with the band. Ultimately, they were an enjoyable opener but one who inevitably were eclipsed by the other bands.
Xerath are such a cool band. They’re nice guys off stage who put on a spectacle on stage. Playing the classics as well as a new song (which features a Chapman stick), Xerath’s hard work is evidently paying off as shown by the amount of t-shirts in the crowd. Singer Richard Thompson is a beast of a frontman and one who has been performing long enough to know his way round a crowd. Songs like ‘I Hold Dominion,’ ‘2053,’ ‘Bleed This Body Clean,’ and set closer ‘Unity to Deify’ were a headbanger’s delight. Xerath may not have been the main attraction tonight, but they certainly won over a lot of fans.
But now for the main event. With an opera singer on stage and the band in full costume, Fleshgod Apocalypse charged at the crowd like a ‘Minotaur’ and burst the crowd’s ear drums. Fleshgod had been described live before as being too heavy and too intense at parts; but tonight despite the sonic onslaught, the band were completely audible. The band were promoting new album King, but weirdly only played two songs from the album, instead opting to a play a mix from their entire career.
In the live arena, Fleshgod are unstoppable, frontman and Andy Samberg lookalike Tommaso Riccardi pressed all the right buttons when motivating the crowd. None of it felt forced or unnatural, he was one with the music. Set highlights were ‘In Aetenum,’ ‘The Fool’, ‘The Violation,’ and the encore of ‘In Honour of Reason’ and ‘The Forsaking’, where the venue was flooded by confetti. Fleshgod Apocalypse were simply insane: they did not put a step wrong, the extra operatic vocals were a nice touch and the atmosphere was amazing. They are without a doubt one of the best death metal bands in Europe, and possibly the world.