Fleshgod Apocalypse Brings The Motocultor Festival To London With W.E.B., Nest Of Plagues, Dark Mirror Ov Tragedy And Etheral Sin
If you're going to a metal show in London, you're almost guaranteed to be in the north of the city and more likely than not, in Camden. It's unsurprising then that this reporter's first gig of the year took place at the legendary Underworld venue, directly opposite Camden tube station. Tonight was an interesting one as five bands from across the globe convened to represent France's Motocultor Festival, which will take place this August in Carhaix, some of which were performing in England for the first time.
For some reason, the show was delayed by quite some time, with doors opening over half an hour later than scheduled, likely causing the relatively short set times. Nevertheless, opening the festivities tonight was Ethereal Sin from Osaka, Japan and they certainly kicked things off in style. Attention was immediately drawn to drummer Meet Schattenclown, who performed the entire set blindfolded and inch perfect to boot. Much like compatriots Sigh, Ethereal Sin mix black metal with their country's heritage and folklore to create a dazzling aesthetic, which fits hand in glove with their brand of extreme music. Ethereal Sin is immediately likable, displaying an earnest love for their music, for playing and just to be part of the tour. Frontman Yama Darkblaze promised that they would return to London in the near future and judging by the response from the crowd, they'll be welcomed back with open arms.
The first band making their live debut in the United Kingdom tonight came in the form of Dark Mirror Ov Tragedy, perhaps the premier black metal band from South Korea. The sextet from Seoul all have a commanding look and presence, particularly guitarist Senyt, who can best be described as a black metal Klingon warrior, roaring at the crowd while delivering a precise sonic assault. Dark Mirror Ov Tragedy are an interesting band to witness live, as there's very little breaking up the songs and so it all flows together like one black estuary. At times, this can be a little overbearing, but for the most part, the band are able to capture the audience with their almost opera-like performance and epic music.
Personally, I hate deathcore. I loathe it and I've never seen a good deathcore band live... Until I saw Nest Of Plagues. Also making their British debut, the (ironically) black sheep of the lineup had a few fans in attendance to begin with, but by the end of their set had a lot more! For all the deathcore traits, there are many elements to their music which makes the Hungarians stand out, especially the more positive vibe that they bring. With glow in the dark instruments and a rather stunning banana shirt, Nest Of Plagues have a bit of a party atmosphere which was a nice injection into the evening's proceedings and the crowd were certainly glad of it. Vocalist/bassist Dániel Ivanics also took the time to address the gap between their 2018 debut and last year's sophomore album, "To Kill A God," explaining his battle with mental health and encouraging fans to find help if they're also struggling, which was a nice touch. Nest Of Plagues came with a handful of fans, they left with a legion.
Up next was a real treat. W.E.B. (as in Where Everything Begun,) has been around the Greek metal scene since 2002 and released their debut album, "Don't Wake Futility" three years later. This was their first time performing in London (whether it was their first time playing in the UK, I don't know) and despite the absence of popular bassist Hel Pyre, who recently became a mother, the band lived up to every expectation and more. As one might expect, their latest album, "Colosseum" was well represented, including the singles "Dark Web" and "Murder Of Crows," which went down a storm, but W.E.B. has such a presence and raw talent that they could have played anything and the crowd would have loved it. Frontman Sakis Prekas is a master when it comes to crowd interaction and the audience were in the palm of his hand throughout. Despite some fierce competition, W.E.B. were definitely the band of the night and look set to soon become as world renowned as some of the other Greek legends like Rotting Christ and Septicflesh.
Believe it or not, I try my best not to be negative, but I have a complaint, and it's one I've never made before... Interim music. You know how it is: You're waiting for the next band to come on and over the PA you can hear some form of metal or rock, be it Satyricon or Satriani and even if you don't like it, it sets the mood. This was the case throughout the night until about ten/fifteen minutes after W.E.B. had finished, when the metal was turned off and classical music began playing. I understand most of the bands are symphonic, especially Fleshgod Apocalypse, but after four excellent metal bands, the novelty of having to endure Mozart wears thin very quickly. People go to a metal show to have fun, not to feel like they're on hold to the gas company. Five minutes or so would have been fine, but this went on for about twenty minutes. Add to this the smoke which was being continuously sprayed on the audience, which soon begun irritating people's eyes and by the time Fleshgod Apocalypse took to the stage, the mood wasn't killed, but it was holding its bleeding side and searching frantically for help.
Fortunately, help did arrive when Fleshgod Apocalypse finally took to the stage. As mentioned, the show had been delayed by quite a while and it wasn't until just before half ten that the Romans entered the fray, at a gig which had an advertised curfew of 11pm. Luckily, it seemed that there was some leeway with this, as the band were able to blast through a good twelve songs. It seems surreal that Fleshgod Apocalypse only formed in 2007 as they've been a staple of the symphonic death metal scene, with tonight's performance being a great demonstration as to why.
Opening their set with "Fury," also the opening track from their latest album, "Veleno," the band clearly works best in a more intimate setting like the Underworld. They were greeted with a mighty roar from the crowd as they tore into the song with real fierceness, followed immediately afterwards by "Healing Through War" from the previous album, "King." Fans were also treated by the double barrel blast of "Prologue" and "Epilogue" from "Labyrinth," as well as "Minotaur (The Wrath Of Poseidon) from the same album directly afterwards. At one point, soprano vocalist Veronica "ValchiRea" Bordacchini could be heard singing the Britney Spears hit, "Hit Me Baby One More Time," of all things! It was a relatively short set, especially by headliner's standards, but there was a huge impact packed into this flurry of punches, especially by the time the set was concluded with "The Egoism" and "The Forsaken" from "Agony." A great way to finish a night of bombastic metal and welcome us all into a heavy new year.
Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.
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Totally agree about the pre-set messing about being too long and my friend an asthma suffer, wasn't very appreciative of the dry ice/smoke. My main issue was that Fleshgod have a very upfront kick drum sound on the recorded material and to be honest I think they left it in Italy, as it was too far back in the mix and hardly noticeable. Disappointed after a 2 year 3 month wait.