Conquerors Of The World brought defiance and skill to NYC’s Gramercy Theater last night, an awesome venue I always try and catch good tours at. The staff is generally really cool, the sound is really consistent and they book a fair amount of good metal shows. Deathstars, Moonspell and Septicflesh are reaching the end of a “long hot” tour (as described by a nonetheless enthusiastic vocalist Fernando Ribiero of Portugal’s darkest sons. There was no sign of road fatigue in the swagger and theatrical bravado of these three great bands, though there were some merch sizes no longer available this late in the tour.
Septicflesh from Athens are perhaps the most consistently ambitious band in metal. I’m listening to Sabbath Assembly’s 18 minute cult hit masterpiece “The Four Horseman” (not a Metallica cover). As the music and chanting about babies and Lucifer with lush and sultry vocals takes me away on this half lit rainy morning, still tired from a long late train ride back home two hours from NYC, I am left in awe and thanks of bands who work their craft to the white-knuckle bone.
Titan on Prosthetic Records has some critics saying it is too similar to the previous release from the band, but really is that a valid complaint? If you are bitching about a huge orchestral arrangement paired with psychotic technique, the utmost heavy speed and nightmare imagery upheaving the soul with important questions of self and the cosmos being too redundant, um…go take out your trash or something. Seth Siro Anton led the Greek demi-gods in a hellraising charge that had the crowd screaming the band’s name and getting down hard, especially ine heavy, somewhat slower bridge riff of new fang bang “Order Of Dracul”. I had to send Androniki Skoula from Chaostar a hyper message to tell her how excited I was to finally be seeing Septicflesh live.
The kick ass top to bottom show was on the same night as the annual Black N Blue Bowl at the old Ritz (Webster Hall) and while it featured my friends in Candiria and Bad Brains this year along with other great bands like 100 Demons and Madball, I still went to Gramercy. I’d been bugging Prosthetic publicist Kelly about this tour since like the split second after it was announced, though I wish they’d been on different weekends.
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I’ve been a Moonspell rabid fan for about 7 years, discovering their good friends Septciflesh in the process. These bands bring theater, high drama and epic composition to metal in a big way. Deathstars may have been more campy but still rocked the fuckin’ house and could appeal to fans of Sister, Rammstein and The 69 Eyes in equal measure. Just big, industrialized death rock fun, the drums hitting so hard even metalheads didnt feel self conscious about liking a band that has some dancier sections (which is smart because the ladies love this band). Stockholm should be proud as Whiplasher Bernadotte hushed the crowd and did a fun “speak when spoken to” routine, just very much in control of things. The band even recovered from a shitty momentum fuck of a technical glitch that stopped a song and would have derailed less capable performers from recovering.
Moonspell were amazing. At times I really think they are the best band in metal. I think of Shining’s new Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, Ends or Septicflesh’s career and there are not many bands who are so fearless, poetic or deeply invested in every layer of meaning, imagery and dark note…well, without going all prog crazy on us, haha. But yeah. Extinct is Moonspell’s latest and is a masterpiece of their gothier, anthemic side. The band didnt cram a greatest hits into their set, which was cool. They played Wolfheart classics “Alma Mater” and “Full Moon Madness” as well as the Irreligious seductively dangerous hit “Opium” but mostly pulled from the excellent new record, which was ballsy and cool. “Medusalem” and the empowering cry for environmental and cultural awareness “Extinct” were highlights, as was the deliciously blood flecked “The Last Of Us”, one of the richest and more rewarding dark, hard rock ballads the band has ever penned.
“My curse is to love you, until we see the last of us…”