I got off work 3 hours early to drive from Raleigh to Jacksonville to see 2 bands: Shadow of Intent and Fleshgod Apocalypse. Icing on the cake, Aversions Crown were also playing. (So were Black Dahlia Murder and Whitechapel, but I’ve never been a fan and I didn’t end up staying for them.)

Hell yea – I hadn’t been this excited about a show in awhile, especially a triple bill.

Shadow of Intent

Reclaimer is so effin’ good and these guys killed it live. They played 6 or 7 songs, including the first 3 tracks off Reclaimer – We Descend, The Return, The Horror Within (“Relinquiiiiiiiish, all control, relinquish your will and your soul…”), and the hit song The Heretic Prevails. They also played their new jam, Under A Sullen Moon and something with rapid fire black metal vocals, I believe from the first album.

They were fucking great to see live. The live mix/production was spot on too – I was right up front with a speaker practically in my face (and had good earplugs in), the sound was loud AF but mixed well & sounded well.

Fleshgod Apocalypse

What’s the club playing in between Aversions Crown & Fleshgod? Oh, just some Mozart. For a moment I thought it was a joke, and then I realize: Ha! Fleshgod Apocalypse. Of course they would play some legit classical music (and nothing else) for 10 minutes while they prepared the stage.

Then they walked on, doing so with gusto: in flashy, romantic, gothic era clothing, some form of white face paint (can we call this post-corpse paint?), and their badass custom made instruments, a full on piano and an opera singer wielding a staff like a weapon.

Hell yea – I think everybody knew they were in for something here. How crazy this band must sound (and look) to anyone here who had never heard them before.

Opening the way 2016’s King opens, they launched into March Royale with no pause in between that and In Aeternum. They played “The Fool”, and I absolutely loved seeing them handle the part at 0:28 seconds where the tempo gels and pulses before launching back at full speed. So good!

The set was hindered by annoying sound issues – guitar cables going in & out, the opera singer losing her mic for an entire song, and not being able to trust the mic much after that.

They also talked to the crowd which was fun – both in the normal sense (“We are from Italy.” “Is everyone feeling good tonight?”) and in a more theatrical sense (“Are you alive? Everyone will die one day”), before launching into songs about the same themes. It was cool to see a band go into these kinds of antics, however simple, that help create that sense of more than just a band but an act.

I also loved seeing the opera vocalist up there. I would’ve died to see her perform Paramour, that brutally soft, intense, and perfectly legit 3 and half minute opera song that comes on mid-point during King. I wonder if they’ve ever played that live. You could hear a pin drop during parts of that song.

And the piano – it looked like a full sized piano – but how can that be? Maybe the surrounding ‘case’ is more like a shell made to look like a grand piano, because that would be a hell of a thing to lug around on tour.

They closed with all members walking off stage while the pianist continued to play, slowly, finally coming to a close.

Songs I can remember: Battle Royale, In Aeternum, The Fool, Healing Through War. They’ve might’ve played Cold As Perfection. They definitely played something other than songs from King, but I don’t know what.

Aversions Crown

While setting up, the speakers emitted a full on beyond-gutteral bass blast that went right through my body, like the time I saw (or should I say felt?) Sunn-o play at Hopscotch. The speaker being directly in front of me didn’t help. Left in shock, I thought to myself holy fuck what’s about to happen? (Weirdly, when they did the same thing in the midst of a song, the full-on body effect was muffled.)

They straight up played all the jams, prefacing every song by telling the audience its actual name: Hollow Planet – first song of theirs I heard, the head bomping Ophiophagy (second jam I got into), Erebus, Prismatic Abyss, and their just released single, The Breeding Process.

It was fun hearing that Aussie accent work the crowd & getting the kids to go hard in the pit (which was far from me, thankfully).

Aversions Crown have an infectious, melodic thing that they always do in their best songs, and it totally works. But I hope they an expand their sound, because it can be a bit formulaic.