Shows aren’t always billed with bands that execute a similar aesthetic. However, when they do, they tend to stand out more, which can easily make it an all-encompassing experience. With that said, Greek symphonic death metal gods Septicflesh returned to New York City this past Saturday (10th) at the Gramercy Theatre. This time around, they co-headlined with Swedish black metal titans Dark Funeral as well as inviting Texas-by-way-of-Colombia black metal fiends Thy Antichrist for support. This resulted in a flawless combination of darkened theatrics as each act complimented each other, and NYC’s sold-out event proved that.
The venue was packed from the get-go as Thy Antichrist introduced the evening of devious metal extremities. These diabolical creatures were there to promote their latest effort Wrath of the Beast, which released this past February via Napalm Records. Despite going through over two hours of torture for frontman Antichrist 666 to look like a demonic beast, his intensified appearance was well worth it. In fact, each member hand painted themselves as they used their bodies like a fine art canvas. Their artistic display only enhanced the mood of their blackened tunes as they performed songs such as “The Great Beast,” “Where Is Your God,” “Desolation,” “Between God and the Devil,” and “Destroying the Myth.” Their theatrics were well suited for your everyday organized-religious-fanatic’s worst nightmare as their satanic-like rituals mixed with blistering tunes make us want them to raise hell in NYC again real soon.
The wait was finally over, and after five long years, Dark Funeral walked onto the platform. It must have been their 2016 album Where Shadows Forever Reign via Century Media Records or maybe celebrating twenty years of 1998’s Vobiscum Satanas that led them to return. Regardless of why, we were happy that they did and at this point of the night, there was barely any room to walk as the audience were stuck in a “is this really happening?” surreal-like trance.
There have been quite a few lineup changes since the band’s inception, and guitarist Lord Ahriman has been through it all, which was an honor to see him in the flesh. There were quite a few new corpse-painted faces such as drummer Jaloomah who joined last year and the fans have also accepted vocalist Heljarmadr as his occult-like presence enhanced his overall performance. The group gave a full set that ranged throughout their entire catalog with songs “Unchain My Soul,” “The Arrival of Satans Empire,” “Temple Ahriman,” “Vobiscum Satanas,” “As I Ascend,” “The Secrets of the Black Arts,” “As One We Shall Conquer,” “Open the Gates,” “Hail Murder,” and “My Funeral.” Surprisingly, these dark lords returned for an encore set with three more songs – “Nail Them to the Cross,” “Atrum Regina,” and “Where Shadows forever Reign.” There is no turning back now, it’s inevitable that they must do whatever it takes to return in less than 5 years.
Septicflesh concluded the night, as they brought one of the best albums from 2017, Codex Omega, live to the stage. The atmosphere stepped away from Dante’s Inferno and moved towards a mythological province. Hades himself graced us with his presence in the form of frontman/bassist Spiros Antoniou as he introduced the band’s netherworld-like adventures with the use of their black symphonic fables. These Greek metal warriors are no stranger to NYC, as they effortlessly make themselves known over the years. However, they are always an enjoyment to see and this time around, there was a dramatic increase in their performance by using an immeasurable amount of guitar hooks, petrifying drum patterns as well as the added orchestrations from Codex Omega. The set included songs “Portrait of a Headless Man,” “The Vampire From Nazareth,” “Martyr,” “Prototype,” “Pyramid God,” “Enemy of Truth,” “Communion,” “Prometheus,” “Persepolis,” “Dante’s Inferno,” “Anubis” “Dark Art.”
Overall, the evening had a faultless combination of distinct horror interpretations on top of the tenacious beats. This was one lineup that we will miss and hope to see more vile theatrics in the future.