Friday, February 12, 2016

Fleshgod Apocalypse at the Gramercy Theatre

Tommaso Riccardi
Fleshgod Apocalypse formed as a death metal band in 2007 in Perugia, Italy. Fleshgod Apocalypse presently consists of original lead guitarist Cristiano Trionfera and bassist Paolo Rossi, along with lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Tommaso Riccardi, keyboardist Francesco Ferrini and drummer Francesco Paoli. Shortly after the 2009 release of the band's debut album, Paoli moved to the drums and was replaced by new member Riccardi. Paoli simultaneously had been the vocalist in Hour of Penance and the drummer in Fleshgod Apocalypse until 2010, when he quit Hour of Penance to focus exclusively on Fleshgod Apocalypse. Ferrini, the pianist and orchestrator of Oracles and Mafia, was added to Fleshgod Apocalypse as pianist and orchestrator in 2010, as the band moved deeper in symphonic death metal. Fleshgod Apocalypse's fourth album, King, was released on February 5, 2016.

Fleshgod Apocalypse came on stage at the Gramercy Theatre looking like medieval zombies, pale-faced and wearing matching badly-wrinkled, dusty-looking, long-jacketed grey suits. A masked woman dressed in a long, wrinkled grey dress and holding a tall staff stood at a microphone stand in the background, adding operatic backing vocals. The music and the hair spinning began with the introduction from King, "March of Royale" and "In Aeternum," followed by "Minotaur (The Wrath of Poseidon) from 2013’s Labyrinth. The songs were lengthy and complex, and so was the story they seemed to tell. Riccardi introduced "Pathfinder" and "The Fool" by cryptically explaining the storylines. The compositions moved from interlude to interlude, led by death growls, stinging guitar leads and synthesized orchestral flourishes. The set formally ended with "Prologue" and "Epilogue" from Labyrinth, but the band returned with encores of "In Honour of Reason" from 2009’s debut album, Oracles, and "The Forsaking" from 2011’s Agony. The entire performance consisted of nine songs, and only the opening sequence came from the newest album. In the end, Fleshgod Apocalypse finely curated metal music with medieval mystique for a unique headbanging performance.