Starting at the end and working backwards; Septicflesh bassist and vocalist Spiros Antoniou concluded his bands set with praise not just for the gathering that had turned out in Montreal, but refreshingly for the way the entire tour had gone up to this point. Stage banter is a tired and often repetitive dialogue between artist and audience, cumbersome and meaningless to the point of hilarity. So on the rare occasion that someone attempts to speak with earnest intent, that communication between entities enriches the experience.
The genre of Metal is one that has few leaders are many content to retread the same battered paths. Septicflesh, going back to their roots as Septic Flesh, have never been a band to follow trends. Since their reformation and name change, these fine examples of Greek musicians have been creating incredible music; written with orchestral arrangements in mind, completed with aggressive black metal elements played on top of it. As a live act, they unfortunately are not able to perform with an orchestra and rely on recorded elements to cover those parts of the songs they simply can’t recreate in a live setting. How majestic it would be to witness these pieces played the way they were intended.
Still, what they do deliver on a live stage is always worthy of the cost of admission. Perhaps the stage banter is a little on the hokey side – constantly referring to the audience as “my friends” starts off as a kind and intimate gesture that grows comical rather quickly. Playing a twelve track set list comprised completely of materiel written after the group regrouped, and breaking the tradition of playing your most known song last, by finishing with “Dark Art” off of the bands most recent opus, “Codex Omega”.
Co-headlining act Dark Funeral played to a well-spirited mob who spat venomous lyrics back at Haljarmadr as he lurched himself forward to sing with the crowd. It had been seven years since Dark Funeral had issued any new material and that is now going on two years ago. Giving patrons enough time to get familiar with their material ahead of the groups third Montreal visit since the release of 2016’s “Where Shadows Forever Reign”.
Thy Antichrist got the evening off to a blistering start, with a scorching performance both sonically and visually. Using imagery on stage very similar to that used in the groups most recent video clip (The Great Beast) and playing an unrelenting set to an abnormally packed opening slot, for a city known for its stragglers.
This tour had sold out nine of its jaunts on the first half of the tour, with the ninth being a capacity L’Astral venue situated on Montreal’s Sainte-Catherine street.
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