The Bierkeller in Bristol doesn’t tend to have many extreme metal gigs, but when they do it’s clear that there’s an interest in the area for them. It’s also a pretty good live venue, allowing you to either stand near the front or take a seat at the back on one of the long benches strewn about.
Starting thirty minutes late, the patient crowd is immediately faced with an aural onslaught from Fleshgod Apocalypse (****). There’s no pussyfooting around here, with the Italians going all out in the musical and visual department. If you haven’t heard of the band before, you certainly won’t forget about them once you’ve seen them, their demonic classical music/death metal crossover works terrifyingly well. Paolo Rossi (bass/vocals), Francesco Paoli (guitar/vocals) and Tomasso Ricardi (vocals/guitar) dominate the stage dressed in torn and bloodied tuxedos, looking like a horrifying zombified combination of the Three Tenors and Russell Brand. Veronica Bordacchini stands cooly behind a mask and provides live soprano vocals to further extend the hellish atmosphere.
Despite the fact that they have exactly half as many members, Krisiun (****) don’t pack any less of a punch. The brothers from Brazil promise to play “old school”, and that’s just what they proceed to do, playing a deathened version of Sepultura and Possessed. Alex Camargo thanks the crowd over and over between slabs of groovy and crunching death metal. There’s space to squeeze in an ever so slightly more aggressive cover of ‘Black Metal’ by UK veterans, Venom.
The soundcheck resets after Krisiun with “1, 2, ey!”. It’s only a jar of maple syrup away from being the most Canadian thing you’ve ever seen, which means Kataklysm (****) must be about to take to the stage. Despite the crashing symphonies of Fleshgod and the groovy tempos of Krisiun, Kataklysm still manage to out do them both in terms of heaviness. ‘Push The Venom’ is as ferocious as ever, as is ‘As I Slither’.
A drum solo from Oliver Beaudoin really is the most ridiculous thing to have ever happened behind a drum kit, with blastbeats and gravity blasts reaching almost impossible levels. The intro to ‘Blood On The Swans’ genuinely sounds like a machine gun being launched, and Maurizio Iacono imitates Al Pacino in Scarface as he massacres the crowd with an invisible gun. It’s enough to make your eyeballs rattle in their sockets.
Despite the fact that Iacono appears to be becoming increasingly inebriated throughout, he still manages to perform with impressive precision. His mid-song speeches do go on for a bit, and his anti-government agenda is clear for all to see, especially on ‘Kill The Elite’. The set creaks to a close after 15+ songs, razing rumours to the ground that Kataklysm had lost any of their aggression after over 20 years in existence.
Written by MG Savage (@MGsavagewriter)