The mighty Fleshgod Apocalypse was back in the Southland unleashing their own thrilling brand on symphonic death metal at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. Touring across North America with Wintersun, Arsis, and Starkill, the noted Italian metal collective was in town in support of their just released magnum opus Labyrinth, available from Nuclear Blast Records. Prior to their astounding set, we caught up with lead guitarist Cristiano Trionfera to find out more about the highlights of the current tour, their impressions of Hollywood, the story behind Labyrinth, being on the road with an opera singing, and other apocalyptic topics. Read on…
How has your US Tour been going with Wintersun so far and what have been some of the highlights?
Very great so far. We have been playing beautiful places. Playing House of Blues’ all over the country is always stunning. Chicago has been great for example. The Canada run went very good. I would say that pretty much everywhere was a good show – great crowds – a good turnout – great tour package!
Is this your first time here in Hollywood?
No, it’s the fourth time.
Go back to your first time, and what were your impressions of Hollywood when you first arrived here?
Okay, Hollywood – there are two sides to it for a European person who has never been here. It is beautiful because you’ve seen a lot of movies about it. You’ve read a lot about it – you’ve seen the TV and everybody is talking about this place somehow. And so coming here for the first time, you realize you’ve seen a lot of places you’ve never been in, but you’ve seen it before – so you can recognize places. You know a little bit of history. The first time, we played The Whisky up the street – and it was such an amazing feeling knowing you were about to play such an important place. Same you could say for the House of Blues here. We played twice the Whisky and this is the second time here at the House of Blues.
The Whisky is such a legendary place…
Oh yeah! The first time you get a little bit emotional about that also. Incredible bands were born there in some way – so yeah, it’s a great feeling!
Is there any overall story or concept behind the CD title Labyrinth?
It is a concept album. We’ve been inspired by the ancient Greek myth of the Labyrinth of Knossos. We developed it into a concept which is meant to be a big metaphor of the human existence nowadays. It’s like if you see the labyrinth – like if it’s your inner path you have to walk during your existence, which is complex – and you’re not sure you’re going to exit from there. And inside of it, you get the Minotaur, which is a beast – it’s some kind of inner demons and our fears you have to face and fight if you want to survive that. So it is in every aspect, we tried to build up this metaphor – not only from a mythical point of view, but from the literal lyric point of view and artistic point of view as well. If you see the booklet of the CD, there are all these icons – and the images are there to bring you inside the storyline and the concept itself.
What could we expect from your live show tonight at the House of Blues?
For sure a lot of energy! Everything we have to give, we try to give the best way possible. We care a lot about the show itself. The visual part for us is important. We’ve got costumes. What we like to do is a theatrical presentation of our music. So we pretty much never stop from the beginning to the end. We try to give to the crowd the imagery of what they’re listening to – not only the music itself, but also seeing the people who are performing the music. It’s very important to us.
What was it like touring with Decapitated and were they cool to hang out with?
It was good! We got along really good! That tour, we had Decrepit Birth from the United States also on that package. You know, being on tour here with other European bands is always good. You always compare your impressions with other European people about America because it’s different – it’s not really the same thing. It’s such an experience, so it had been a good tour.
When you look back on the previous albums Oracle and Agony, what do you think of them now?
Oracles, I think it has been a good start. Agony, I think it has been a good start. (Laughs) There are two different reasons for that. Oracles was a proper start for the band, like we started with that idea and we put what we had about that idea on that album – but knowing that we wanted to go somewhere else – which is where we are pretty much now. I mean, the symphonic way of writing the music. We added that later on. What we wanted to do was have something to start from with Oracles. Agony’s a good start for just the simple reason – it was the first time for us using the whole orchestra all over the place. So we had to face a lot of difficulties – not only musically but also technically – like the mixing., We learned a lot for both of the works I would say.
On the new album, you have an opera singer on board. What was it like working with an opera singer?
Oh, we’ve got her live as well. Her name is Veronica Bordacchini – she sang also on Agony actually. And it is great! That’s something we’ve always wanted to add to our show also. On the record, we try to keep the colors of the classical influences we have and the symphonic music we write. It’s important for us not to be only one way music, but also have different things inside of it. And being able to work with an opera singer is perfect for us!
How does the opera singer like touring with a bunch of heavy metal dudes?
It’s been very good so far. It’s pretty much our first tour we did together. We will take care of her whenever we can, because as I told you, it’s an important part. I thought it would have been a disaster or something like that, because it’s her first tour ever. You know being on tour is not really being comfortable. And just one girl with all guys – but so far she’s doing good!
She’s a trooper!
Select one word to describe the other bands on the tour. First let’s go with Starkill…
Young – if I say young it’s not enough. Talented.
Ridiculous, man! They’re incredibly good guitars players and I hate that! I would love to play like them!
And of course Wintersun…
Wintersun – epic! They are really, really, really good! I love their music, I love the guys! So good!
And what’s up next for Fleshgod Apocalypse after the Wintersun tour is over?
We’re going to have some weeks off actually. We’re going to put together some ideas we’re working on. New music – new videos – we have ideas here are there. We don’t have any specifics right now, but we’re working on it. And then we’re going to have some festivals – and in January and February we’re going to be touring Europe with Kataklysm – so it’s going to be great!
Do you have any messages for your fans here in the United States?
I always like to say – especially here in the United States – that the guys who go to the shows – they are very good at one thing – they have fun and support the bands! Just keep on doing that, because that’s what we live for. I’m not talking economically, but artistically. When you see people support you in every way possible, then you know why you’re doing that.
Fleshgod Apocalypse is:
Cristiano Trionfera – guitars, vocals
Paolo Rossi – bass guitar, clean vocals
Francesco Paoli – drums, guitar, vocals
Tommaso Riccardi – lead vocals, guitars
Francesco Ferrini – piano, string arrangements, orchestral effects
(Interview and Photos by Kenneth Morton)
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