Hypocrisy and Fleshgod Apocalypse’s co-headlining North American tour has sadly come to an end on Monday (15th) in Oakland, CA. Dubbed, Death…Is Just the Beginning, the trek began on March 15th, and while it took us a bit to find the right words for this epic run, we were there for their sold-out performance on March 31st at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre. With Aenimus’ support for the entire trek, the run consisted of three groups from different parts of the world sharing a distinct style within the death metal spectrum.
Aenimus opened up the night as they introduced their progressive-death-extreme sound to the crowd as well as presented their latest effort, Dreamcatcher, which was released on February 22nd via Nuclear Blast. These California metallers are semi-new to the scene as it was 2013 when their debut effort, Transcend Reality, arrived with a different lineup. While their new album is a concept piece based on horror films and Stephen King novels, their overall presentation didn’t portray these chiller classics onstage similar to other bands such as Ice Nine Kills. Instead, their live set was more technically driven, which reminded us of a combination between The Black Dahlia Murder and Persefone. Alex Green led the performance not only with his vocal delivery, but he had no fear of utilizing the entire stage. Meanwhile, Guitarist Jordan Rush and bassist Seth Stone both executed a more progressive style as drummer Cody Pulliam just did his thing. It’s safe to say; the band gained more fans that night.
Fleshgod Apocalypse promised a new album would be released sometime this year, but a due date nor album title didn’t drop until roughly one week before the tour. With that being said, a lot has changed since we saw these Italian symphonic death metal giants perform at 70000tons of Metal this past February as we witnessed both sets. Despite the band’s original plan to perform their upcoming LP Veleno in full on the cruise, they continued to promote 2016’s King as the album’s artwork displayed in the background. However, on this night, it was evident that it was time for the band to promote Veleno as the King backdrop was no more. This new display didn’t seem to feature Veleno but, it did change the tone as it more or less brought you to an old Italian opera house. Perhaps this look is their in-between design before Veleno arrives on May 24th via Nuclear Blast.
While the overall look was different, it was comforting to see pianist/keyboardist Francesco Ferrini back to his usual spot onstage, at least, that’s what we’re used to seeing from the last few runs. While things appeared “normal” seeing Ferrini having his back facing the crowd, the talented opera singer Veronica Bordacchini was on a different side of the stage. However, this didn’t stop her flawless execution as her operatic vocals have always felt like the missing piece to the puzzle for this incredible band. The lights continued to flutter with strobes, and maybe they will change for future shows. While we saw Francesco Paoli’s return to the mic during 70000tons, this was relatively new for the New York audience to witness. Based on the number of crowd surfers and the explosive mosh pit, it looked like the concertgoers accepted Paoli’s new role.
The group performed two new songs from Veleno: “Fury” and “Sugar.” This of course happened before the band’s official second single, “Carnivorous Lamb” was released. While we heard “Fury’s” live debut in the middle of the ocean, this was our first time hearing “Sugar” live. The band’s overall visual presentation was once again, phenomenal and we hope to see them again real soon. Songs included: “The Violation,” “Healing Through War,” “Cold as Perfection,” “Sugar,” “Minotaur (The Wrath of Poseidon),” “Fury,” “Epilogue,” “The Fool,” “The Egoism,” and “The Forsaking.”
Shortly after Hypocrisy released 2013’s End of Disclosure, which coincidentally is their latest offering, the band were forced to drop off their North American tour due to visa issues. Between mastermind Peter Tägtgren’s busy schedule from working as a producer, supporting Pain’s latest effort 2016’s Coming Home, to starting new projects, these Swedish death metal legends haven’t had a full North American trek since 2010, which was in support of 2009’s A Taste of Extreme Divinity. While the Tägtgren has previously mentioned the band were working on new material, Hypocrisy were finally able to support somewhat their latest album, which is now six-years-old. Therefore, this night was vital for Hypocrisy fans.
When Hypocrisy took the stage, the audience was a mix between people who were there solely for them, others were curious, and some were seeing them for the first time. For those who enjoy science fiction, Elon Musk, project blue book (not the TV series), or currently follow YouTube channels such as SecureTeam, mix that with death metal: you will find Hypocrisy as the perfect combination.
While their stage setting was dark, there were glimpses of light and flares as it was fun to envision these flashing lights being portrayed as UFO sightings at NYC’s Gramercy Theatre. Thanks to Hypocrisy’s out-of-this-world tunes, we weren’t afraid to let our minds run wild. Additionally, the band knew exactly what their fans wanted to hear as many most likely went back to the group’s classics such as 1996’s Abducted, 1994’s The Fourth Dimension after the show. Which means, their performance reminded us all on how much we missed seeing them live. Songs included: “Fractured Millennium,” “Valley of the Damned,” “End of Disclosure,” “Adjusting the Sun,” “Eraser,” “Pleasure of Molestation / Osculum Obscenum / Penetralia,” Fire in the Sky,” “Killing Art,” “Buried,” “War-Path,” “The Final Chapter,” and “Roswell 47.”
Despite the number of tours that are scheduled for this year, Death…Is Just the Beginning will most likely be one of the best ones we’ve seen. The entire lineup was diverse consisting of horror-death, operatic-death, and UFO death. Hopefully, we will see Hypocrisy return to the states in less than nine years.