Ever since Hypocrisy was forced to cancel their 2013 US tour due to visa issues, fans have been anxiously awaiting their return. When the announcement was made that they would finally step on U.S. soil once again as part of a co-headlining tour with Fleshgod Apocalypse, the news spread like wildfire. The Death is Just the Beginning tour came through Gas Monkey Bar n’ Grill on Friday night and it didn’t disappoint. Fans arrived early, flocked to the bar, and the merchandise lines never seemed to die down. After throwing back a few drinks, fans filtered towards the outdoor stage ready for a night of extreme metal.
The show kicked off at 8:00pm with local support from Renatus from Waxahachie. The band delivered crushing hardcore breakdowns that had the crowd slamming into one another in the pit from the first note. Deathcore typically isn’t my cup of tea, but Renatus made a believer out of me. Transitioning from blast beats and tremolo picking, to breakdowns and triplets, Renatus set the bar high for the rest of the night. After the 30 minute set, it was time for the first touring band, Aenimus. The four piece offered up another set of technical deathcore. After a brief pause caused by breaking the snare drum, the band didn’t miss a beat, treating the crowd to technical riffs, unorthodox time changes, and vocals ranging from guttural screams to clean harmonies. The crowd fed off the band’s energy and kept the circle pit alive for the duration of the set.
The stage was then set for the first of the co-headliners, Fleshgod Apocalypse. As a traditional piano was rolled onto the stage and darkness filled the sky, Fleshgod Apocalypse walked out, led by operatic vocalist, Veronica Bordacchini. The Italian vocalist wore a gothic headdress, face paint, a flowing black dress, and carried a staff adorned with serpent figures. The rest of the Italians followed suit, clad in black and knee high boots. The energy level was high as the set began with the track “The Violation,” from their 2011 release Agony. Every inch of the stage was utilized as the members moved from side to side to interact with the crowd. The piano and synthesized backing tracks were a welcomed atmospheric relief from the deathcore breakdowns offered earlier in the night. However, this didn’t take away from the brutality that Fleshgod Apocalypse is also known for delivering. The blend of operatic vocals and death metal screams projected at just the right levels through the PA. “Cold as Perfection” and “Fury” had the crowd banging their heads and screaming along. Watching Fleshgod was both musically and visually pleasing. The band’s theatrical stage presence added to the atmosphere and kept the crowd’s attention. They then offered up the track “Sugar” from their upcoming album, Veleno. The new album is set to be released through Nuclear Blast Records on May 24th. Fleshgod Apocalypse didn’t disappoint in a live setting and it was easy to see why they teamed up with Sweden’s Hypocrisy for this tour.
It was then time for Swedish metal masters Hypocrisy to take the stage. After talking with fans in the crowd before the set, rumors spread that the drummer, Reidar Horghagen (Horgh), wasn’t on the tour. Once the lights dimmed, the stage was engulfed in darkness, and the silhouette of Horgh could be seen standing behind the drum riser, and all was right in the world again. The synthesized intro of “Fractured Millennium” pierced through the PA as the band’s founder, Peter Tägtgren charged on stage. The crowd erupted into a frenzy of mosh-pits and windmills. I haven’t seen that much hair fly in a long time. Tomas Elofsson and bassist Mikael Hedlund didn’t miss a note as the band played through “End of Disclosure.” Peter’s vocals seem to age like a fine wine, the lows were still as powerful as ever and the high screams are still some of the best of any metal band out there. All hell broke loose as the band played tracks “Eraser” and my personal favorite, “Fire in the Sky.” Hypocrisy touched on a majority of their discography and closed the night after a short encore with “Roswell 47.” I’m glad they finally made it back to the U.S., who knows if it will ever happen again. Don’t complain if you sleep on this tour and don’t get a chance to see these aliens in the future. One of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time!
– Corey Smith
– click to enlarge photos –