Fleshgod Apocalypse

Live at The Regent Theater

Los Angeles, CA

November 19th, 2016

Review and Photos by Travis Baumann

Fleshgod Apocalypse are a Symphonic Death Metal band hailing from Italia. They conjure a forboding operatic experience that summons the darkest elements of Death Metal combined with the refined but macabre courtesan pleasures of deep storytelling; replete with orchestrated epic arrangements, and a masked opera singer in the flesh.

The men of the band all dress in what was once fine attire but now resembles that which has spent some time in the grave. The opera singer wears a fancy dress, a gold mask, and carries a Caduceus-like staff which she hammers into the stage at key moments.

Filling out the stage completely, the band spreads out around Tommaso Riccardi on lead vocals and rhythm guitar and includes; Cristiano Trionfera on lead guitar, Paolo Rossi on bass guitar, Francesco Paoli on drums, Francesco Ferrini on upright piano, and Veronica Bordacchini supplying the female operatic vocals. The gentlemen on lead and bass guitars also lend vocals at various intervals.

Formed nearly ten years ago, they have put out four albums and have toured the US for the last three.  This is my fourth time seeing them live and although every time I have gotten to witness their performance they have been great, this concert tonight was their best so far.

They recently released their latest album, "King" and were going to showcase that album with it being heavily weighted in the song selection. They started with the introductory track, "Marche Royale" which seamlessly leads into "In Aeternum" as it does on the album.

Fleshgod Apocalypse put on an intense show with a lot going on musically as well as visually at any given moment. Bombastic and powerful, the music swells and builds with each song.

Tommao's facial expressions match the severity of his growled vocal delivery. Paolo's voice lends a cleaner aspect to the male vocals that progress the storytelling with different perspectives and sounds when it comes time for him to interject his portions of the tales.

They played a song off their previous album, "Labyrinth" with "Pathfinder" before returning to "King" for more of the latest songs. They played "Healing Through War" followed by "Cold as Perfection".

Veronica's involvement ranged from background choral vocalizations to coming to the front of stage and taking a more dominant role on certain songs. She also interacted with Tommaso in operatic stage performance style. She would sing a verse to him while affectionately caressing him. He would back away or at times charge towards her with his guitar. They continued this back and forth verse by verse that lent depth beyond most musical groups' abilities.

They went back to the first album I heard of theirs with "The Violation" from the album, "Agony". The performance of the night was predominantly based on the story of "King" but they carefully selected tracks from their previous albums that would not break the narrative and fit in nicely. They returned to "Labyrinth" for the song,"Epilogue" in such fashion.

Tommaso picked up the mask of a jester and introduced the next song while holding it to the crowd. The song came from the latest release and was "The Fool". This was one of my favorite songs of the set as Tommaso gestured and motioned with the music as it had intervals where his hands were free from the guitar.

They finished the set with one last track from "Agony" with "The Forsaking". Everyone left the stage with the last few notes being played out on the piano. Everyone quickly returned and gave a collective group bow and waved to the estatic audience.

It really was an amazing performance, from the manic piano playing of Francesco to the lead guitar work of Cristiano, from the clean vocals that would border on shrieks at some points from Paolo to the stoic backbone of percussion from the other Francesco, but especially in the vocal delivery of Tommaso and Veronica, it was an epic experience.

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