Oct 152011

Last night NCS co-founder Alexis and I went out to Seattle’s Studio Seven and met up there with our friend Travis for a bit of vigorous headbanging. There were massive attractions on the bill, starting with one of our favorite combines of local dudes, Blood and Thunder (whose new album we’ll be reviewing shortly). In talking with them after their set, we learned they’re recording a new song and we got a look at a new piece of artwork that will likely appear on future merch — it’s a huge eye-catcher, and I hope to splash it all over NCS soon.

And then we got the chance to see another Seattle band who I’ve heard good things about — black metallists Funeral Age. Their set was killer and I’ve now got their latest album, which I’m looking forward to ingesting. More likely, it will ingest me.

After that was a surprise — Rings of Saturn from California’s Bay Area. I didn’t know these maniacs were part of this show (they weren’t listed on the Studio Seven web site), but man, I’m glad they were. They’ve now got a new 7-string bass player and a new man-mountain of a drummer, and they delivered a high-energy blast of technical death metal. The calculatingly dead-pan stage banter of their frontman Peter Pawlak was also funny as shit.

And then came the band Alexis and I really were there to see — Fleshgod Apocalypse, who were making their second Seattle appearance of the year, after their all-too-brief set on the SUMMER SLAUGHTER tour stop. We moved up close to the stage for this one and just got completely mind-blown. We weren’t the only ones. The floor crowd was clearly eager for this set and exploded at the same time as the band’s first song exploded. So, in addition to getting mind-blown, we got treated to non-stop body slamming until the set ended. It was fucking spectacular. I didn’t think it was possible for me to become any more enthusiastic about FA than I already was, but yeah, it happened.

And then, we sort of lost the rest of the night’s music, missing out on Decrepit Birth and Decapitated, because we got engrossed in conversation at the tour bus with FA guitarist Cristiano Trionfera, later joined by Francesco Ferrini (keyboards), frontman Tommaso Riccardi, and drummer extraordinaire Francesco Paoli. More about that after the jump, plus another jaw-dropping Francesco Paoli drum-cam video that SickDrummer released yesterday from FA’s performance on October 11 in San Francisco.

The discussion with the FA dudes wasn’t an interview, though Alexis, Travis, and I quizzed them incessantly about whatever popped into our addled heads. But since it wasn’t an interview and I wasn’t taking notes, I’ll just say that they all reinforced the impressions they made when we spoke with them at SUMMER SLAUGHTER: These are some genuinely nice, open, unpretentious people. They’re smart, they’re incredibly dedicated to perfection in what they’re doing, and they’re having a blast riding the huge surge in popularity generated by their latest album (Agony) and extensive touring of North America this year.

I don’t mean to leave bassist and co-vocalist Paolo Rossi out of this post — we saw him before the FA set, and he also couldn’t have been more warm or engaging.

It’s not necessary that musicians in great metal bands be nice or smart or articulate. After all, it’s the music that matters most to fans like us. But it’s a huge plus when you see it, and we saw it last night. It made a great evening of music all the more memorable. Fuck, even the very serious, very intense Francesco Paoli gave me a hug before going back into the bus.

And that brings me to the drum-cam video. I wanted some kind of film of FA playing live to include with this post, and when I went looking I found by coincidence that this clip was just released yesterday. The song is “The Violation”, from Agony. It was filmed at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco just a few days ago. It’s a helluva thing to watch and hear. After the video is a schedule of the remaining dates on this NorthAm tour. If you’re in the vicinity of one of these venues, this is a show that’s definitely worth seeing.

2011-10-15 Vancouver, BC (Rickshaw Theater ) CA
2011-10-16 Calgary, AB (Republik ) CA
2011-10-17 Regina, SK (The Exchange ) CA
2011-10-18 Winnipeg, MB (Park Theater ) CA
2011-10-19 Eau Claire, WI (House of Rock ) US
2011-10-20 Milwaukee, WI (Miramar Theatre ) US
2011-10-21 Joliet, IL (Mojoe’s) US
2011-10-22 Columbus, OH (Alrosa Villa ) US
2011-10-23 Cleveland, OH (Peabody’s ) US
2011-10-24 Toronto, ON (MOD Club ) CA
2011-10-25 Ottawa, ON (Rainbow Bistro ) CA
2011-10-26 Montreal, QC (Les Foufounes Electriques ) CA
2011-10-27 New York, NY (The Gramercy Theater ) US
2011-10-28 Reading, PA (The Reverb ) US
2011-10-29 Asbury Park, NJ (Saints & Sinners Fest @ The Stone Pony ) US
2011-10-30 Springfield, VA (Jaxx ) US

UPDATE: I just found that new Blood and Thunder artwork:


  1. Think you forgot to include the video. First you do double, then you do none?!

    • Same explanation: I’m an idiot. Fixed now.

      Next time, I’ll probably put up the same video 3 times. Or it will be a clip of polka dancing when I mean to show Decapitated. My life is a series of mishaps, thankfully non-fatal ones. So far.

  2. The drummer of this band is pretty mediocre honestly, just because he can blast and play double bass at 260-280 doesn’t mean he’s actually good at it. He sounds good on the albums because of Pro Tools– sound replacement and quantizing are a real problem nowadays…

    • Do you realize that he’s only been playing drums for a few years? He was the band’s main guitarist/vocalist on their debut, “Oracles”, and he only started playing drums after that. For having played such a short time, I think the dude is amazing.

    • “just because he can blast and play double bass at 260-280 doesn’t mean he’s actually good at it”

      You do realise that these criteria are generally categorical, rather than continuous?

      I mean, you either CAN blast and play at those speeds, or you CAN’T? Because doing it badly… well, is essentially the same as not being able to do it? If you can’t do it to standard then you can’t do it.

      Either way I think calling him “mediocre” is rather stingy, at best. I mean, his fills and his changes between hands for the varying beats and blast sections are extremely fluid, his stick work is extremely precise and his stamina is impeccable.

    • I hope you die in a fire

  3. I caught this tour in Atlanta a few weeks ago, and while FA’s performance was probably my favorite of the night, I’ll tell you that you really missed out by skipping Decrepit Birth and Decapitated; both of their sets kicked colossal quantities of ass. Like you, I also had the honor of meeting all the members of FA after the show. They’re all such nice, down-to-earth dudes, and I couldn’t have asked for more. \m/

  4. while you had a unique opportunity in talking with fleshgod, you did miss out. this was probably the best show i’ve seen in seattle. all the bands sounded good and were crazy tight. especially fleshgod. they were phenomenal. rings of saturn, however, were/are unlistenable. so much needlyneedlyneedlyneedly…

  5. It’s always fun when metal bands end up being really nice dudes in person. I saw Marduk this May in Chicago, and Morgan was chatting and eating with a fan at the bar before the show, and then took the time to chat and shake hands with other fans (including me) by the merch table. I didn’t meet any of the others, but I was impressed with Mortuus’s interaction with the crowd during the show. Just listening to his music and reading interviews he’s done, I had this image of him in my head as a grim, evil black metaller, but he actually has somewhat of a sense of humor on stage, and does a lot of stage banter-y things with the crowd (“This is Panzer Division…” *holds out mic, crowd screams, “MARDUK!” “Panzer Division WHAT?” “MARDUK!!! “PANZER DIVISION WHAT???” “MARDUUUK!!!”). He really seemed to enjoy fan appreciation and getting them riled up, which I liked. It seemed like cared about the fans a lot.

    • Marduk can defintely bring it during a live show. I was impressed by how much energy they can generate with a crowd

  6. I’m still confused by this band. There are elements I like and really enjoy. But then sometimes I feel like they are only a 1 trick pony. And even after repeated listens to all of their stuff I’ve yet to “drink the Kool Aid”.

    The other thing that hurts them (and it shouldn’t in my eyes, but it kinda does) is their sudden popularity. Took me by surprise. On one hand I like the fact that a extreme band (that I would not call accessible by any means) is breaking through. But why this band of all the bands?

    And I know a bunch of power metal weenies who are digging them as well, which gives me cause for concern. LOL

    • Maybe the power metal weenies are digging the keyboards and Paolo’s vocals, but otherwise that’s a puzzler. As for their surge in popularity, I really think that comes down to the intrinsic appeal of the music, as opposed to the result of some kind of media hype campaign, and I think much of the appeal comes down to the fact that they really don’t sound quite like anyone else. I suppose only time will tell whether the novelty factor wears off and FA turns out to be a 1-trick pony, but I would bet against that happening. I definitely hear evolution as the band has moved from Oracles to Mafia and now to Agony, and I think if these five can stay together, there are interesting times ahead.

      • I’ve noticed a fair amount of progression with FA as well. If their next one explores the slower side they showed with “The Forsaking”, then all will be good in the world. Avoiding lineup changes and resisiting the temptation to crank the classical elements up to eleven will keep them grounded.

        Italy has been home to some great power and progressive metal, but it’s nice to see more than that coming from the boot.

        • Just about every time I get excited about a band that’s really starting to hit their stride, I start holding my breath waiting for people to leave, since it happens so damned often. I really hope these 5 hang together because they’ve got great chemistry together musically.

      • But if they slowed down people will moan and claim sellout or trying to be more accessible. That seems to be the problem with their style, it leaves them with very little “wiggle room” (or so it would seem to) to explore their sound. It feels like they’ve run their course already.

        Maybe they have other surprises around the bend. Who knows 🙂

        • I’m not saying slow down for the entire album, but explore that a bit more. That song was an unexpected surprise, one that broke the album upa bit without breaking it. The blackened vocals could be used a bit more or the hypersonic beats could be slowed to supersonic. I think a band like FA needs a bit of variety to avoid been-there-heard-that syndrome; closing each release with piano isn’t enough, but I thought “The Forsaking” was one of the best parts of Agony, without being something that didn’t sound like it belonged on someone else’s album.

  7. YOU LUCKY FUCKING BASTARDS! Fleshgod Apocalypse is my favorite Tech-Death band. Also, stinks you missed Decrepit Birth and Decapitated, both are kick ass bands.

  8. “Hi, I’m Islander, and I’m a lucky fucking bastard. Haha! Suckers!”

  9. Shit-talking Fleshgod Apocalypse on NCS = poking a sleeping bear with a stick.

  10. While I would have loved to see Decrepit Birth play I concur that getting to talk to the Fleshgod dudes was very cool. I did however catch the entirety of Decapitated’s set, and I agree with Aaron and kingben: they fucking KILLED! I saw them years ago with the originally lineup, also at Studio 7, and I’m so fucking pleased that they were able to rebuild after what happened, and still kick so much ass! One of the best Death Metal sets I’ve seen in a long time! I’ll just have to make it a point to catch Decrepit next time they hit town. \m/

  11. Sick show! I was there for all of it and I really enjoyed Rings of Saturn, I had heard some stuff about them but never knew they could shred so well. 2nd time seeing Fleshgod and they destroyed as usual

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