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Wintersun and Fleshgod Apocalypse at The Shelter - 8/16/13

On a summery evening, Finnish epic symphonic metallers Wintersun and their beastly heavy Italian pals Fleshgod Apocalypse came to smash Detroit's face at The Shelter. Also on the bill were Americans Arsis and metal newcomers Starkill.

Fleshgod Apocalypse bassist Paolo Rossi
Fleshgod Apocalypse are sometimes described as technical death metal. I don't agree with that moniker. I instead think of them as a blackened death metal band with manic classical elements. They delivered just that. Fleshgod's stage show included both a mock grand piano, as well as a female vocalist wearing a costume, complete with a masquerade mask. Fleshgod Apocalypse attacks with vocals that range from the gutteral death/black metal harshness of guitarist and singer Cristiano Trionfera, to the soaring clean vocals of bassist Paolo Rossi, to the operatic soprano vocals of the nameless masked woman. Their studio tracks deliver the classical sound in abundance, but from my vantage point last night, it was difficult to fully hear that sound, which somewhat took away from the overall performance. Don't get me wrong, Fleshgod definitely delivered a crushing blow to the crowd in attendance, as their overall brutal death/black metal sound came across just fine.

Wintersun - (l-r) Jukka Koskinen, Jari Mäenpää, Kai Hahto, and Teemu Mäntysaari
To end the evening, epic symphonic metallers Wintersun took to the stage. Wintersun, founded and headed by Jari Mäenpää, who originally founded fellow epic metallers Ensiferum, delivered a performance that was nearly indistinguishable from their studio sound. Wintersun, since their inception in 2003, have only released two studio albums, "Wintersun" and "Time I". The band has matured dramatically in both sound and songwriting between the two albums and, thankfully for the fans in attendance last night, a bulk of their set list consisted of tracks from the latter album. Wintersun's songs almost have a spacy and movie sountrack-like quality about them. In particular, the song "Time" almost sounds as if it belongs in a Lord of the Rings Battle scene. Though a heavy band with obvious black and thrash metal influences, Wintersun almost has a mellow feel about them. Mäenpää's vocals range from the gutteral to the clean and utterly majestic (think Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt), and the keyboards are almost soothing. Nothing you hear on either of the band's studio albums did not come across during their set.

This show did not disappoint. Fleshgod Apocalypse and Wintersun, for the most part, delivered exactly what you hear on their studio efforts. Though Wintersun evokes images of the cold northern winter, they brought the exact opposite to the Motor City - a hot, sweaty good time.

For more photos from the show, visit my Tumblr:

Wintersun -
Fleshgod Apocalypse -
Arsis -
Starkill -