July 14, 2014 Septicflesh & Fleshgod Apocalypse lead Conquerors of the World Festival Tour to NYC 6-24-14 w/ Necronomicon
The Conquerors of the World Festival Tour made its way across to the North American continent for the first time since 2012. Brought together as an extreme metal showcase of bands from different countries, the 2013 edition is led by the return of Greece’s Septicflesh, Italy’s Fleshgod Apocalypse, Canada’s Necronomicon, and US band Black Crown Initiate. With both Septicflesh and Fleshgod Apocalypse seldom making North American appearances, this was one hell of a hot ticket for fans. Three dates into the three week tour the conquerors landed at Gramercy Theater on Tuesday June 24th in New York City.
Due to unforeseen issues, Black Crown Initiate could not make the show and representing the hosting city for the evening was West Nyack, NY band Animist. Formed in 2007, the five-piece band has actively played all over the tri-state area, building a following. Mixing melodic guitars with intense vocals, the band’s style fit right in with Conquerors of the World. Performing songs off their self-released EP such as “Here Our Highest Good is Pleasure” and “Demora’s Descent”; the band had a groove going early on. Limited to an abbreviated set, Animist made the most of their time to show what they have to offer in their dynamic brand of metal.
Taking the stage shortly after was Montreal’s black metal three-piece Necronomicon. This marked their return to the Gramercy Theater for the second time in less than a year after leaving an impression with Decide in October of 2013. Formed in 1991 initially, Necronomicon has withstood a great deal to reach the point they are today. Signed to Seasons of Mist Records, the three-piece outfit of Rob “The Witch” (vocals/guitar), Rick (drums), and Mars (Bass) have now released four full-length records, including their most recent Rise of the Elder Ones (2013). Mixing roots of black and death meal into an intense hybrid, the band immersed the stage with a presence that New York City was taken by. With thunderous drumming, thrashing, speedy guitars, and gruff but clarified death vocals, the band dominated through a battery of their songs. United by unison windmill headbanging, their enthusiasm on stage added that much more to the performance. Offering up tracks like “Pharaoh of the Gods”, “Into the Fire”, and “The Time is Now”, the band had fans’ metal horns in the air and rocking the entire set.
Bringing on the Southern Europe flavor was Fleshgod Apocalypse. Together now since 2007, it has been a steady climb in the extreme metal ranks for the band over the course of three studio albums. Making their first North American appearance back in 2011 with Decapitated, the band is now making their third trip across the sea proving their reach is growing rapidly. Comprised of Tommaso Riccardi (vocals/guitars), Paolo Rossi (vocals/bass), Cristiano Trionfera (vocals/guitars), Francesco Paoli (drums, guitars, vocals), and Francesco Ferrini (piano), the band comes together for a unique blend of orchestral and technical death metal elements.
Dressed in classical period attire, each member approached the stage one by one to the tension building “Temptation”. Blasting right into “The Hypocrisy”, the audience’s eyes widened watching the spectacle. Feeling like a symphony from hell, the addition of a female masked operatic vocalist merely added to the atmosphere and theatrics. Their set was balanced with new song “Minotaur (The Wrath of Poseidon)”, followed by “The Deceit”, “Requiem In Si Minore”, and “Elegy”. Showing the high production value of Labyrinth is not merely studio magic, the band shined bright through the performance making the tracks equally as fierce.
Pacing the performance, the band was treated with screams of excitement the entire set as they played on with one epic tune after another. Riccardi, feeding off the energy, proclaimed in his heavy accent that he loves New York to which the audience responded with deafening screams. With adrenaline pumping, the biggest mosh pit of the night followed during the “Pathfinder” which lead into the horror film vibe of “The Violation” and concluded with “The Forsaking”. Fleshgod Apocalypse is chaotic beauty which will only receive higher demand in the coming years stateside.
Taking a moment to regain their stamina, the NYC audience was ready for Athenians Septicflesh. Approaching twenty-five years together, Septicflesh’s dark profound hybrid of symphonic, death, black, and gothic metal has left a lasting impression on the underground European scene. Made up of Sotiris Vayenas (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Spiros “Seth” Antoniou (vocals, bass), Christos Antoniou (guitar), and Fotis Benardo (drums), the band’s brief hiatus between 2003 and 2007 was only a prelude to their rise to popularity in the United States. Following the release of Communion (2008), each record thereafter has seen greater international success for the band. Making their first appearance on American soil in 2009, in 2011 they returned as headliners of Conquerors of The World, and now take the throne again in 2014. Geared up in support of their latest album Titan, there was definitely a heightened level of anticipation in the air of Gramercy Theater with the record making its North American debut the very same day.
Starting the ceremony with “The Vampire from Nazareth”, “Communion”, and “A Great Mass of Death”, the sound’s darkness engulfed the room. Working through a few minor technical difficulties, Septicflesh was professional and on-point with their performance. Bringing the eerie tones of each track, Antoniou’s vocal performance was astounding and vivid. Playing on with “Pyramid Gods”, “Unbeliever”, and new track “Prototype”, the room was fully attentive to each aspect of the show as Benardo put on a clinic of drumming that had many salivating. With Vayenas and Antoniou’s guitar work providing the platform for each track, the instrumentation was full and ear tingling.
Playing on with more macabre metal, “Lovecraft’s Death” followed with fan favorite “Persepolis”. The band’s ability to recreate each tune was profound while new and older pieces streamed seamlessly together. With a soundtrack laced with terror and tension, the story-line of each song was rich in Greek mythology such as “Anubis”. Upon the closing of the set, Septicflesh dominated with “Five-Pointed Star”. The band’s dramatic song structures are an event to witness live. Creating a sense of fear, their set was a cinematic master piece all in attendance enjoyed. On par with their countrymate Rotting Christ, Septicflesh is a Greek metal treasure which has mastered their craft.