It feels crazy how fast three years have flown by since the first time I saw Fleshgod Apocalypse tear it up on their debut tour in Australia with Septicflesh. But I knew that the next time I’d see them would be just as special and enthralling as the first. With the Italian, operatic death metal quintet returning to the stage at Max Watts, it was gonna be one hell of a show that would feel welcoming to those who hadn’t seen them live before.

Melbournian locals Hollow World were the first to kick things off. With their debut LP Exanimate being released three months prior, they had plenty of killer tracks to perform onstage straight from the record. And if you ever expect the quality from Exanimate to translate just as good live, you can bet your ass it did. But not only that, Hollow World had very natural and relaxed death metal troubadours that all had the band’s performance go very fluidly with no trouble, whatsoever. Even being the first band on the bill, starting fifteen minutes after doors open, they had already gained a great response from a good, building crowd.

Perth representatives Earth Rot also provided the patrons of Max Watts with an exciting and distinctive half hour of brutality and malevolence. Performing mostly off their recently released Renascentia, the four-piece gave off a great impression as the second act of the evening. Having seen them once, supporting Goatwhore and Psycroptic two years ago, they had been an Aussie highlight for me since then. And with this shot they were given, they had more to bring to the table with some fresher tunes and good live musicianship and presence.

The final support act Hybrid Nightmares were not only captivating, but they also had a vocalist that looked like Jesus Christ went through a rebellious teenager phase with God and started hanging out with Satan. Within their timeslot, the band delivered a series of songs to the audience from their First, Second and Third Age EPs. With a more black metal approach compared to the rest of the acts performing, Hybrid Nightmares had a whole new level of evil stapled to their name and the genre. No matter how long or how little they were to play at one of their shows, they would always find a way to make the most of their set so their crowd would remain captivated.

Fleshgod Apocalypse’s headline set, being an hour long, can be described as being invited to a night at the opera with a bunch of rotting corpses, or something as brutal as Luciano Pavarotti and Chuck Schuldiner deciding to be best friends and collaborate together. Either way, whether they played something from the likes of “In Aeternum”, “Pathfinder” or “The Fool”, every track was performed at level that felt like the score of The Lord of the Rings was being forced-fed to you. Opera vocalist Veronica Bordacchini had her moment in the spotlight throughout the set, executing her heavenly, dramatic siren-like vocals with the group as they played. Frontman Tomasso Ricardi had not only a very powerful presence onstage, but he also had the ability to be able to conduct his fellow bandmates and the audience witnessing the musical strength of Fleshgod Apocalypse. And good god, the mixing and tone to their sound was rich, fulfilling and very persuasive. It was just as enticing as something I’d hear at a live theatrical score from an epic film.

Overall, there wasn’t a dull moment or song for that matter, throughout the entirety of this gig. With such a unique lineup and an international sensation to headline it all, it’s safe to say that this has already become one of my favourite gigs of the year, thus far. And the only thing I can say to end this review is, if you haven’t seen Fleshgod Apocalypse live, you better get your ass to the next show ASAP, cos you have no idea what you’re missing out on!