The Sold Out Sinclair Venue Marks 2013 As Wintersun's "Time"
The last place I ever thought I would see a show was in the middle of the campus of the “elite of society” – Harvard University. Though not confirmed, I had heard that this particular show was the first metal event at the newly opened Sinclair club, which was directly in the heart of the college. I had made the 114 mile trek to the area countless times, however, I don’t recall the traffic being this annoying. When I went to see Wintersun and Eluveitie at Royale in downtown Boston, the trip was nuisance free. But, it was Friday night, and stupidity on the road was nothing new. The area was wrought with college kids, yuppie preps and artsy types, so it was a pleasure to walk around in my Sodom – “Epitome of Torture” shirt, its double meaning was painfully clear. The venue proved to be a rather loose, without any pushy asshole bouncers and the club itself had decent sound. If you have been to the upstairs part of The Palladium in Worcester, imagine it double the size with a much better stage (raised to where you can see), much better lighting and double the upstairs space where you can view the band from just above the floor crowd from all sides/angles.
Chicago’s Starkill started off the night with a major bang….well, let me rephrase that – the set started off with a minor snafu queuing up the computer intro music. While vocalist/guitarist Parker Jameson had the crowd poised during the opening intro with horns in air ready to blast into “New Infernal Rebirth” (see review here), the second part of the intro didn’t fire off, leading to a nice laugh and then a re-do. I don’t bring this up as a bad thing at all, just one of those human moments that make live shows so much fun. The band was tight as hell, blasting through tracks from the brilliant debut LP “Fires of Life,” including the title track, “Immortal Hunt,” “Below the Darkest Depths” and “Wash Away the Blood With Rain.” High octane performance from one of the rising stars of metal.
Arsis was next, a band that brings highly proficient technical death metal and a horde of fan support. James Malone’s shrieks over progressive death was cause for an instant pit, one that I was fortunately protected from (just behind me…you never want to get caught in the pit with an expensive camera). The band bulldozed through some new tracks like the title track of the band’s latest and fifth LP “Unwelcome” (see review here), as well as “Handbook for the Recently Deceased” and “Carve My Cross.” Sprinkled throughout the set were some earlier classics like “A Diamond for Disease” and “The Face of My Innocence.” If you haven’t had the opportunity to see Arsis, do so immediately. Outside of Noah Martin’s energetic musings, the band pretty much stands and delivers and what they don’t (or can’t due to lack of stage room) do visually is usually backed up by incredibly well played metal. A pleasure to see, as always.
Now, before Italy’s Fleshgod Apocalypse hit the stage, I was teetering on whether I was a fan or not. I had the previous release “Agony,” which I found to be both very good and very unlistenable at the same time. What I had heard from “Labyrinth” (see review here) was phenomenal, so that is a must buy when released this week. For those unfamiliar with the band, Fleshgod Apocalypse play an absolutle insane type of symphonic extreme metal where faster isn’t fast enough. Normally, this translates pretty badly in a live setting, but boy was I absolutely blown away. As the band set up, out rolled a full piano for Francesco Ferrini – something you normally don’t see on stage for a death metal act. When the band hit the stage in tattered old style tuxedos and corpse make up, the visual was pretty amazing. What followed can only be described as a wall of brilliant apocalyptic sound that made you stand in awe. Lead vocalist and guitarist Tommaso Riccardi and guitarist Cristiano Trionfera pick with an inhuman speed. Their right hands appear suspended in a perpetual state of blur – pretty mindboggling when you consider just how hard it is to do that. As Riccardi commanded front stage center, he reminded me a bit of Mille of Kreator in appearance and stage presence. His death growls were accented disharmoniously with the clean rafter shaking range of bassist Paolo Rossi. The band played new tracks “Minotaur (Wrath of Poseidon)” and “Elegy” along with a bunch from “Agony,” including opener “The Hypocrisy,” “The Deceit,” “The Violation,” “The Egoism” “Agony” and the closing number “The Forsaking.” A brilliant live performance left any “teetering” I had from the onset, leaving me no questions as to whether I should be a fan…I needed to.
When Wintersun hit the stage, so to did a wall of people who decided to “prickishly” rush the stage and literally squeeze the life out of the first four to five rows of people. Just getting my hands to my head to aim the camera was a challenge. As “Sons of Winter and Stars” entered its twelfth minute, the crowd loosened up a bit and it became a bit more normal. The band sounded even better than the first time I saw them (last year at the Royale in Boston), the advantage of seeing the third night of the tour as opposed to the final. Jari Maenpaa came out to a wave of applause and everyone reaching out for his touch. Wintersun is by far one of the best bands I have seen live…with sweeping epics like “Land of Snow and Sorrow,” “Time” and “Starchild” were sung by all – melodies that all translate perfectly to a live performance.
Teemu Mantysaari is a fantastic guitar player and both he and Jari loved to bow out into the sea of humanity and play their guitars among the horns of the engaging crowd. One new song from “Time II” was played – “The Way of the Fire” as well as a playful, and unexpected, cover of Aerosmith’s “Walk this Way.” Mid-way through the set I watched from different vantage points high and low from all around the venue, which gave such a great perspective on the gravity of this band’s live performance. With a second North American tour and this venue sold out, the band has quickly make up for any lost “time” over the last 8 years.
Carl Frederick is a staff writer for Metal Underground.com. From the early to mid-90's, Carl published his own fanzine called C.R.O.M. In 1997, he released a compilation entitled "CROM: The Resurrection of True Metal," which featured songs from bands from around the world, including the first U.S. release of any kind for bands like Italy's Rhapsody (n/k/a Rhapsody of Fire) and Brazil's Angra. Follow Carl on Facebook and Twitter: @CROMCarl.
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