Our arrival to Gas Monkey Live was heralded by practically every metalhead I know in the greater DFW area – with such a stacked lineup across a wide range of extreme metal, the evening promised an intense and moving experience right out of the gate. Dual headliners Whitechapel and The Black Dahlia Murder were joined by symphonic Italian death metallers FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE, Aversions Crown, and Shadow of Intent.
Heavy hitters Shadow of Intent opened the show with precise and vicious melodic deathcore, packing the venue early and reverberating well outside to draw those in waiting further inside. Powerful blast beats echoed throughout and shook the bones of concertgoers, and paired excellently with the razor sharp riffing of Chris Wiseman and signature disgustingly brutal / fast vocals of Ben Duerr.
The Horror Within
Underneath a Sullen Moon
The Heretic Prevails
The Battle of the Maginot Sphere
Despite technical difficulties, FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE persevered through yet again and brought their signature Italian symphonic death metal to a very eager crowd. Seemingly unphased after an accidental early start and vocal / drum mixing issues, previous drummer turned vocalist and guitarist Francesco Paoli fronted yet another masterfully powerful performance. Within the operatic flourishing of each member is a newfound tightness in sound; most noticeably found in the percussion section as relatively new drummer David Folchitto absolutely punished his kit. Fleshgod’s theatrics throughout the performance serve the band well as simultaneously intimidating and entertaining, as all members maintain a great level of seriousness and focus on their instrument while still keeping it interesting.
As pianist Francesco Ferrini leaps up from his seat in transitional moments, he raises the hype of the crowd before diving headfirst back into heavy, rhythmic, and massive tremolo picked death metal riffing, a perfect example of how involved yet also reserved the band keep their on stage atmosphere. Fleshgod acts as a force of nature, leading those in attendance to becoming fully engrossed in the stories they tell throughout their discography.
Healing Through War
Cold as Perfection
Immediately following was the first of two headling acts, The Black Dahlia Murder, performing their most recent album “Nightbringers” in it’s entirety. We were lucky enough to sit down with vocalist Trevor Strnad during their time at Gas Monkey and he filled us in on some of the inner workings of the band, upcoming tours, antics and more before the show, giving us a bit of a heads up of what to expect both during the show and to come from the band soon. Opening with “Widowmaker”, the PA came alive with the intro for what was easily one of the highest energy performances I’ve seen from the band. A red swirling wasteland of art behind them, and with fists pumping, jumping all over the place, high speed windmills and running all across the stage, the band not only entertained with onstage antics but absolutely floored me with how well the sound came together.
Nailing intricate solos without even looking, guitarist Brandon Ellis truly stole the show for me as a fellow guitarist. The insanity that is this man’s playing is unrivaled from what I’ve seen live, with almost every moment serving as a photo op while not only NOT losing the technical proficiency, but improving upon the prolificacy that is to be expected from Black Dahlia riffs and solos. Everything just sounds better each time I see this band. Older fan favorites were peppered throughout the playthrough of the album, featuring a handful from hit album Nocturnal that was recently toured on to celebrate the 10 year anniversary amongst others. Black Dahlia’s fanbase failed to disappoint yet again, as they kept the pit spinning and fists pumping at high speeds for the entirety of the performance and heightened the experience tenfold, and as the band said goodbyes and played the final song “Deathmask Divine”, the room practically erupted.
Of God and Serpent, of Spectre and Snake
Kings of the Nightworld
What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse
As Good as Dead
The Lonely Deceased
Everything Went Black
In celebration of the anniversary of my personal favorite album of theirs, Whitechapel opened the dark stage with a powerful ambient intro to lead into the cover to cover playthrough of “This Is Exile”. Featuring minimal stage lighting, the band was illuminated intermittently in heavier parts to pair alongside the thundrous kick drums. Vocalist Phil Bozeman has maintained one of the more brutal vocal styles in the deathcore game and brought his A game alongside the rest of the band, bellowing his gravelly, thick lows in parallel with precise, album quality high vocals. All 3 guitarists paired together for a massive sounding yet precise attack of riffs and down tuned, deafening madness, and as they trekked through the set, all the nuances and small effects were fully actualized due to their presence.
A tight, heavy, and altogether disgusting performance was topped off by old school deathcore fan favorite tracks “Vicer Exciser” and “Prostatic Fluid Asphyxiation”, with the entire crowd singing the vulgar choruses and pummelling one another in the most pit.
Father of Lies
This Is Exile
To All that Are Dead
Death Becomes Him
Daemon (The Procreated)
Prostatic Fluid Asphyxiation
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