A Bard’s Eye View: My Last Show of 2016 (Probably)


My Last Show of 2016 (Probably)

 

Imagine a concert featuring Dark Tranquillity, Swallow the Sun, Enforcer, and Starkill.  That’s a pretty badass lineup.  Anyone would be a fool to pass up a show like this.

UNLESS

Epica, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Arkona, and The Agonist are playing THE VERY SAME NIGHT.

Yeah, it was fucking hard.  I weighed the pros of each show and considered them heavily before deciding.  I had seen Epica four times, Fleshgod Apocalypse and The Agonist three times, and Arkona once before.  I saw three of them on the cruise this past February.  I have never seen Dark Tranquillity, Swallow the Sun, or Enforcer before, and Starkill is an amazing band to see live.  Epica features my absolute favorite female singer of all time and Fleshgod Apocalypse has quickly become my second favorite band.  I ended up picking the Epica show because a friend of mine really wanted to go and I thought it would be appropriate that I was there to assist in that experience.

The Agonist is a band that I have featured on my Artist Profiles in the past.  I previously heralded Vicki Psarakis as a new vocalist on the last album, “Eye of Providence”, replacing Alissa White-Gluz, who had recently departed the band to join Arch Enemy in 2014.  I didn’t expect a new album for some time as the more recent one had been released last year, but they came back with an album entitled “Five” on 30 September.  I was less than thrilled about it, to be honest, and I didn’t know what to expect for this performance.  Vicki did a fairly decent job but it became evident very early on that she didn’t have the same vocal strength or presence that Alissa had.  I did enjoy ‘Thank You Pain”, but I was disappointed that their setlist didn’t include more of the songs that I enjoyed on previous albums.

Arkona is a band I am still very unfamiliar with.  I have always enjoyed them but I have never really delved into their discography a whole lot.  They have a lot of material for being a band of only twelve years, but I did enjoy their music as well as their set that I saw on the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise this year.  This performance, however, was phenomenal.  It was the perfect blend of folk and heavy, with the singer alternating between clean and harsh vocals very effectively and seamlessly.   Unfortunately, I cannot provide any links to any of the songs that were played because I don’t know the names of any of them and setlist.fm is surprisingly very unhelpful in this particular endeavor.  But, they had bagpipes and were awesome.

Fleshgod Apocalypse was amazing, of course. Their setlist didn’t deviate much from what I normally am exposed to. They did make sure to play “Cold as Perfection” and “Healing Through War” which I don’t think were included in the times that I saw them previously. “In Aeternam”, “The Violation”, and “The Forsaking” were all three songs that I really wanted my friend to see and I was very thankful we got to. The live piano, the operative vocals from Victoria, and the assault of heavy and chaos from the rest of the band were completely astounding.


Epica was also amazing. Every time I see them I am completely floored with how powerful the band is. Promoting the new album, “The Holographic Principle” (featured in detail on this very site), they played nine songs from the album, including “Ascension – Dream State Armageddon”, which is my favorite of those new ones. They also played classics like “Storm the Sorrow”, “The Obsessive Devotion”, “Unchain Utopia”, and “Design Your Universe”. The latter of the songs had a very powerful point where everyone was fooled into thinking the song was over. I will provide a link to a live performance from 2013. We didn’t have the full orchestra and choir like they did (lucky sons of bitches), but at 7:45 in the song is where the big surprise comes. It was very intense.


So, that (probably) concludes my concert going experiences for the year 2016. Coming up, I have a two-part Artist Profile featuring Soilwork and will probably begin some cruise prep posting in the following weeks.

-Ryan

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