Septicflesh’s North American tour has been nothing short of breathtaking. At the seventh sold-out show so far, on March 4, Chicago’s Reggies Rock Club filled up within minutes of the doors opening.
In support of their 2017 record, Codex Omega, the Greek symphonic death metal band have teamed up with black metal legends Dark Funeral and the ravenous Thy Antichrist. “It’s a great package,” Septicflesh lead guitarist Christos Antoniou shares. “[The tour] blends two styles together: black metal and symphonic death metal. We knew there would be hype about this tour. It started really well—five in a row sold-out shows. [There was a] great show in Los Angeles in a big venue. Everything [is running] smooth, and we’re really pleased with the success of the tour.”
The night opened with Fin and Withering Soul, two local Chicago acts. Both bands put on a spellbinding presentation through their blackened atmospheres as more people poured into the venue. Then, Thy Antichrist took the stage, all dressed in corpse paint and horror-themed outfits. The set began with minor technical hiccups, and though the band executed a crushing delivery of their speedy black metal, the set ended fairly quickly.
After this minor speedbump, the night took on a massive shift in tone when Dark Funeral took the stage, also dressed in horrific black metal attire. The crowd lost their minds as the band began playing. There was an exciting theatrical element in their performance, with the crowd tossing up metal horns toward the stage. It was a terrific set to prepare the room for the main course of the evening.
Before Septicflesh took the stage, massive flags were set up, depicting monstrous white snakes and referencing the artwork of Codex Omega. With a purplish hue lighting the stage, smoke spewed forth as ominous orchestral strings began playing from the speakers. Soon, Septicflesh took the stage, dressed in their iconic battle armor. Vocalist and bassist—and Christos Antoniou’s older brother—Spiros “Seth Siro Anton” Antoniou cried out, welcoming fans, and the crowd roared back with cheers and applause.
To add a flair of theatricality alongside their music, the band always bring something visually appealing with them onstage. “We bring lights, new scenery, we have updated costumes,” the guitar-slinging Antoniou shares. “We try to always, with every album we release, update our image. People are going to see the new image of Septicflesh.”
Immediately, the band shifted gears into their first song, “Portrait of a Headless Man.” While they ended up playing the orchestral elements of their music over speakers, no part of the band’s theatricality was lost in their performance. As drummer Kerim “Krimh” Lechner unleashed a metallic maelstrom, the rest of the band stood before the crowd like hulking warriors. Pounding bass and shredding guitars ripped through the venue, the air filling with a tremendous epic nature. Spiros’ voice rolled over the crowd as he growled the lyrics.
When talking about touring the States, Antoniou finds the journey to be full of excitement and passion. “We like touring to [the] U.S.; the fan base, I would say, is more warm in comparison to Europe,” he shares. “In Europe, [fans] are not so warm, they are more cold in their response. Not in a bad way; [that’s just] their culture. But in America, it’s totally different.”
As soon as the first song wrapped up, Spiros announced the second track, “The Vampire From Nazareth.” Layering on a thunderous rumble of bass, the band’s instrumentation boomed forward, continuing to captivate the audience. The vocalist took this a step further before the band’s third track, “Martyr.” His voice commanded the crowd in their movements, doing a “Thee, two, one” countdown before everyone broke into chaotic moshing. Christos and fellow guitarist Sotiris Vayenas added to the madness with haunting strings of melody, stirring the crowd to thrash into one another. While there was a barrage of lighting and smoke effects, the band alone had a tremendous presence that left the fans marveling.
As the night progressed, Septicflesh performed other fan favorites such as “Enemy of Truth,” “Dante’s Inferno,” and “Prometheus,” wrapping up the evening on “Dark Art.” Fans continued to roar with joy and adrenaline as the band infused every bit of their being into each song. The night was a marvelous delivery of savage black metal and symphonic metal. While the combination of these acts was a truly remarkable blend, Septicflesh were the crowning wonder of the evening.
Antoniou mentions that when it comes to these shows, his excitement is unwavering. “I like touring, you know?” he offers. “I cannot say I have been saturated. I enjoy touring, and I’m happy that I can do something that I really like.”
He continues, sharing his hopes for the band and his outlook on the future. “The new era of Septicflesh will happen,” he asserts. “We will have more to give, and this will motivate us to create a better album than Codex Omega. Codex Omega is our best album, [and] we will overpass it. The future looks bright.”
If the first half of this tour is any indication of the hellfire to come in the second half, you will not want to miss out on this pure heavy metal experience.
3/8 Toronto, ON @ Mod Club
3/9 Montreal, QC @ L’Astral
3/10 New York, NY @ Gramercy Theater
3/11 Worcester, MA @ Palladium
3/12 Baltimore, MD @ Soundstage
3/13 Spartanburg, SC @ Ground Zero
3/14 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
3/16 Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
3/17 Fort Worth, TX @ Rail Club
3/18 Austin, TX @ Come And Take It Live!
3/20 Phoenix, AZ @ Club Red
Top photo by Stella Mouzi