Jul 282011

On Tuesday of this week, my two NCS co-founders and I, plus other friends, attended the SUMMER SLAUGHTER tour stop in Seattle at a venue called The King Kat Theater. The doors opened at around 2:30 and the show went on until something like 11:30. I’d seen many of the bands before, the exceptions being Within the Ruins, Oceano, Powerglove, Six Feet Under — and the band I wanted to see most of all, Fleshgod Apocalypse.

When something is blatantly obvious, it’s best just to admit it. So yes, I admit, I’m a Fleshgod Apocalypse pimp. I’m talkin’ about the kind of BIG PIMPIN‘ that Jay-Z had in mind. I pimp FA at every fuckin’ opportunity I get here at NCS. So, it will come as no surprise that although I found something to like about most of the performances I saw, the highlight of the tour for me was FA’s set (followed closely by a skull-collapsing performance from Dying Fetus). I even got to meet three of the guys in FA and bore them with conversation after they played!

I also took a shitload of amateurish photos of FA’s performance, including the one up above and about two dozen more (the best of a sorry lot) that I’ve posted after the jump. But before getting to that, I have a few awards to hand out (also after the jump). And at the end, I’ve got a link to an audio stream that just appeared today for a new song from FA’s forthcoming album (it’s called “The Egoism”).

Best Drummer Attire: Powerglove’s Bassil Silver, who sported two of those flag thingies sticking up out of his back that you see on medieval Japanese warriors in Akira Kurosawa movies, but with skulls on top of the poles. They bobbed around as he hammered on his kit during Powerglove’s strange set. Awesome.

Most Geeked-Out, Non-Metal Metal Set of the Night: Yes, this award goes to Powerglove again. Songs performed, as best my friends and I could figure out: Theme song from the X-Men cartoon show, Megamen theme song, theme music from the Mortal Kombat game (before this one, the band passed balloon swords and mallets into the audience so that battle could be done along with the music), Tetrix music, and the music to Super Smash Bros.

Most Intimidating Frontman: Adam Warren (Oceano). Say what you want about Oceano’s music, the dude is a magnetic presence on stage. Refreshingly, he got this award without resorting (much) to the usual deathcore macho-posturing. I’m pretty sure he didn’t call me a motherfucker even one time.

Most Inhuman Drum Performance: This one is a tie between FA’s Francesco Paoli and Dying Fetus’s Trey Williams. If I’ve ever seen more blazingly fast yet tightly controlled drum assaults on stage before, I’ve forgotten it. Absolutely jaw-dropping shit. It’s possible these guys are cyborgs.

The Soldiering On Through Adversity Award: This one goes to FA. The band’s sound depends on the dual vocals provided by growler Tommaso Riccardi and operatic tenor Paolo Rossi. In the category of “shit happens”, Paolo’s mic suffered an irreparable failure almost from the beginning of FA’s set — but he and Tommaso just traded off on the latter’s mic, kind of like tag-team wrestlers. They didn’t miss a beat.

Well, enough with the awards. More about FA (yes, there will always be more). They played early, following only one local band and Within the Ruins. They’re not nearly as well known here in the U.S. as most of the bands on this tour. But they got a hell of an enthusiastic reception from the crowd, which built to a full roar by the time FA finished their way-too-short set.

FA are not the only band to incorporate symphonic elements into their music, but they’re the only band I’ve heard who meld them (and integrate them so ingeniously) with white-hot, blast-furnace, jet-fueled, technically demanding death metal. It was gratifying to find out that they pull off this feat as well on stage as they do in the studio. “Face-melting” doesn’t begin to do it justice.

With their down-at-the-heels baroque formal attire and their blackened faces, they generated a lot of curiosity before beginning. By the time they finished, they were generating lots of “Holy Fuck!” comments, and I heard people talking about them off and on the rest of the night.

Happily, it turns out they are really nice people, too. Without meaning to stalk them, I went out the side entrance of the venue (the one used by the bands to load and unload gear) almost an hour after their set to have a smoke, and there I ran into vocalist and lead guitarist Tommaso Ricardi, bassist and co-vocalist Paolo Rossi, and that inhuman drum machine, Francesco Paoli. They all professed to know and like NCS (which of course made me blush, even accounting for the possibility that they were just being polite), and they seemed to be enjoying the hell out of this tour. They spent the first 5 minutes apologizing profusely for the microphone difficulties during their set — not being petulant or pissed off, but actually apologizing for something that wasn’t their fault.

I spent the most time talking with Tommaso, and he couldn’t have been friendlier (very fluent in English, too). He does an effective job projecting a gruff death-metal persona on stage, but he’s got an infectious megawatt smile that was on display the whole time we talked. It really wasn’t an “interview” — I wasn’t prepared for one, had no tape-recorder, and was too much in fanboy mode to ask anything intelligent anyway. We talked about the tour in general (the band have been very pleasantly surprised at how many people seem to know who FA is and how positive the crowd reactions have been so far), Seattle’s music scene and history (Tommaso is a big fan of Eddie Vedder and hoped against hope that he might see him walking the streets), the beastly weather likely to be encountered on most of the remaining stops on this tour once it leaves the California coast, my adoration for FA’s music, and other similarly non-newsworthy topics.

In a nutshell, if you have a chance to see this tour, it’s definitely worth seeing. And get there early, because you don’t want to miss FA’s set, believe me. And now, here are some more photos. Just remember, if you think these are half-assed, you should see the 300 others I took which didn’t make the cut.

UPDATE:  Well, what a coincidence. Today, Nuclear Blast has debuted another song from FA’s new album. The track is called “The Egoism” and you can listen to it by using THIS LINK and looking for the music player in the upper right quadrant of that page. Now, onward to the crappy photos . . .


  1. Powerglove didn’t do POKEMON!?!? shit.

    • Honestly, I wouldn’t know if they did. I gave up on video games a while back after realizing that I had the hand-eye coordination of a stump. The only music I recognized was the X-Men theme song, but my comrades were pretty certain about the rest. I also see that I mispelled Tetris in the post. Whatever that is.

    • I guess I should add that although I remember watching the Pokemon cartoon show at some point, the theme song hasn’t stuck with me.

  2. You didn’t hit the dick, balls and jizz levels of fanboydom did you???

  3. Lucky Islander. I hope someone comes out of nowhere and offers me a job so I can get some $ before I go (before I go… IF I win the contest) so I can pick up some awesome FA, DF and possibly TBDM merch, plus my earrings from last year’s Mayhem Fest are both ruined, so I need to get some more of those because I don’t know where exactly to go to get earrings like those around where I live.

  4. TL;DR but thanx a bunch for the stream! I hate Nuclear Blast so much for teasing me like this. I just want to listen to the whole album, on repeat, for 3 days straight!

  5. I am incredibly jealous that you got to see Powerglove. Even more so than Fleshgod, they are the band I would want to see. Dudes are insanely gifted.

    Also, it’s Tetris, not Tetrix.

    • I have to say, I was immensely entertained by their set, partly because of the crazy costumes they all wore, but mainly because they really can play. It was loads of fun. Watching people in the crowd bashing each other with plastic swords and hammers was icing on the cake.

      • Not really a fan of Nintendocore, but I can really get behind the idea of a big fight with swords and hammers. Has that ever been done before? If not I wouldn’t be surprised. If I do get to go I would’ve thought I’d skip their set, but the swords and hammers sound promising.

  6. I was also at this show but unfortunately I missed seeing Fleshgod for i live and work on a god damn island in the Puget Sound,. Regardless, I went and talked to their bass player at the merch booth and bought their new CD (which isnt out in America yet) and it fucking slays so tough.

    On another note I don’t think Mutiny Within played… it was Within The Ruins. Very, very different bands lol

    • Ooops — you’re exactly right, Within the Ruins. This was some kind of Freudian slip, I’m afraid. Cool that you were able to pick up the CD. I did the same, and that was almost worth the price of admission all by itself.

  7. I thought the Violation was alright but not nearly as good as their stuff off Mafia. I am really liking The Egoism though.

  8. Is it worth going to just for Fleshgod and Dying Fetus? Because that’s all I would go for. I didn’t go last year because they had a bunch of shitty bands, and I went the previous year only for Ensiferum and Necrophagist.

    • That’s basically what I did. It’s not that I think the rest of the bands are bad — but I’d seen many of them before, and of those, Dying Fetus was the one I most wanted to see again. Of the ones I hadn’t seen, FA was the only one that I was dying to witness. So if those two bands hadn’t been on the bill, I might well have taken a pass on this tour. Having seen both of them, I was really glad I made it. So, it might be a steep price to pay for two bands, but I thought those two were worth the price of the whole show. Caveat: FA only played 4 songs. But who knows when they’ll come to the US again? And those 4 songs were . . . wonderful.

  9. Fuck Yes, sir.

    We miraculously have all access passes for the NM show, the Denver, CO show, and the Wichita, KS show. So excited to see FA and Dying Fetus. Black Dahlia Murder puts on a decent live show too. I don’t mind deathcore but I’m more excited about the tr00 bands on this tour. Hella excited.

    • Wow — now that is some living! I saw Summer Slaughter twice in two days last year, in Seattle and then Portland, with different groups of people. I thought it might be too much, but it was fun.

  10. Looks like I’m chiming in a little late, but I must say, you’re remarks about FA, as of late, made me delve into their short catalog. My take on them is, the music, from what I can actually make out in the mix, is, as you stated, “technically demanding.” I find the music extremely technical and a real challenge for the listener. I really, REALLY want to like these guys. But my biggest roadblock is the production. They play so fast in so many songs that, with the albums produced as they are (which I find to be muddled), I can’t make heads or tales of what’s going on in many of the songs. It *sounds* like it might be good, but I can’t tell for sure because I can’t differentiate between any of the instruments, including the vocals. It just sounds like metal objects slamming into metal objects with some guy yelling, barely audible over the smashing metal noise. Does anyone else have this problem?

    And guys, if anyone can’t wait to hear “Agony,” that shit leaked on the next a couple days ago. Go download it.

    • Did you have the same problem with the production on Agony? I thought it was an improvement. But honestly, I kind of enjoy that feeling of everything smashing and crashing together in a big slamming blast anyway. You can imagine what this is like live with the volume in the red zone. It’s like being in a hurricane.

      • The production on “Agony” is an improvement, but I find myself having the same issues as before. I guess I wish they would turn down the symphonic elements a bit while also making the guitars a little more clear and audible. I know this stuff is crushing. I just like to hear clearly hear all the little notes that are crushing my skull. If it all just sounds like loud smashing….I get bored and lose interest.

  11. Well, I finally got around to checking out “The Egosim”. Fuck. I must have this album. And I see that the extra song on the iTunes version is indeed a Carcass cover, so it should live up to the “bonus track” name.

    • I listened to a preview of it on Itunes, and it sounded like an awesome example of a true cover. It does the original justice, but it still has the Fleshgod flair.

  12. Its not crappy dude its fukin awesomm, i wish they will release a dvd so v fukers here (in BANGALORE , INDIA) can c them performing live shit of that insane album AGONY \m/

    • They truly believe in putting on a show for fans who turn out for concerts. That’s why they wear the archaic tuxedos and the face paint. It’s a totally entertainment experience. A DVD would be radically good.

  13. These guys are pretty bad ass if you like tech death, they played my club last year. Italian guys if I remember correctly. I definitely bought a shirt that day.

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