As the bands reached Southampton it was the nineteenth date into their mammoth UK tour. The Cellar, an absolutely rammed tiny venue for such epic bands, with no more than literally a hundred people filling up the venue and more still queuing to get in I thought to myself, there is no way that everyone will fit in here, and you know what? It was one hell of a tight squeeze.
The night kicked off with the Italian symphonic death metallers, Fleshgod Apocalypse, dressed in tuxedos and corpse paint; their music being as brutal as their image. The crowd gathered quickly, enjoying every second of the brutality mixed with the symphonic sounds of guitars and Ferrini’s intense keyboard playing. The set was tightly packed with technical brilliance and intricate riffs and combined with the essence of metal scowls and swirling hair, Rossi, Trionfera, and Riccardi fronted the orchestral onslaught. However, even though the 30 minute set wasn’t near long enough, in my opinion, the crowd made the most of the time and continued to go nuts as they tore through tracks from the latest album ‘Agony’, such as “The Violation” and “The Hypocrisy”. Fleshgod Apocalypse received a well-deserved response of applauses and were a definite highlight of the evening for me.
Skeletonwitch were up next and had absolutely no problem with ripping into their set. The crowds stood in awe by the blur of sweat and sticks from Dustin, his kit bearing a battering from his complex and pulverizing beats, the incredible, menacing riffs delivered by Nate and Scott combined with the brutal, harsh vocals from lead singer Garnette, that provide the basis of heavy metal savagery. The band played enthusiastically throughout and interacted with the crowd at every chance they got. The crowd was pushed right up to the stage and head banging to every song on the set list. Songs such as “Choke Upon Betrayal” and “Within My Blood were all met with collective cheers and flying limbs as if it was indeed, the end of the world.
It can be safely said that the evening was all about The Black Dahlia Murder as the entire floor erupted into a mad frenzy of mosh pits and bodies being flung around like rag dolls as they stormed energetically around the stage tearing into songs from their newest release ‘Ritual’, such as “Moonlight Equilibrium” and “Conspiring with the Damned”. I for one walked out with more black spots consisting of bruises than a leopard.
The technical and musical aptitude of this band has been growing constantly throughout their career, which was reflected clearly in their combined performance that flooded the stage and crowd alike. The bands’ energy was delivered with as much stamina at the end as there was at the beginning- still maintaining a brutal, tight, and focused set. The fans easily matched their energy and enthusiasm by the sight of never ending mosh pits and continuous swirling hair that could be seen from back to front.
Of course The Black Dahlia Murder didn’t forget the good old classics such as “Closed Casket Requiem”, “Funeral Thirst” and “What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse”. The fans broke into the loudest cheers I’ve heard for a long time in such a small venue and screamed along to every song with vocalist Trevor Strnad’s rabid, intense vocal work.
In a nutshell all this made for one fucking brutal show and the soul pummelling line -up delivered the goods. Southampton fans were left physically drained but still wanting more.