Back on February 28th Metal Blade Records made the announcement that Whitechapel and The Black Dahlia Murder would be doing a co-headlining tour together over the summer. I’m sure metal fans cheered in unison having these two great bands on the same lineup. Whitechapel would be performing their entire album ‘This Is Exile’ during the tour to celebrate the album’s 10th year anniversary. The Black Dahlia Murder would be performing their most recent album, ‘Nightbringers’ in its entirety during the tour. The tour came to St. Petersburg on June 22nd and I was fortunate enough to be able to get access to cover it.
Jannus Live in St. Petersburg, FL is one of the most unique venues. It is set in the middle of a courtyard as an outdoor venue in between shops and apartment buildings. If you lived at one of the apartments, you could literally open your window to watch the show. The other unique part is this tremendous tree that stands off to the side of the courtyard. Though the venue can pack in a solid crowd for any show and that day was definitely a seller as people were standing shoulder to shoulder packed in tight to watch the show. Though it was brutally hot outside, you could tell it was going to be a great show.
Unfortunately, bad traffic on the way there held me up missing the opener from Connecticut named Shadow of Intent. They originally started off as an internet project back in 2014 with no intent to perform live shows. They released their first EP in 2014 titled ‘Inferi Senentia’. They followed up with their first full-length album in 2016 titled ‘Primordial’. They released their second album ‘Reclaimer’ in 2017, which has amassed over one million streams. The band changed gears and added members to perform live shows and sold out their very first debut performance at Webster Underground in December 2017. You can find out more about the band on their website or Facebook page.
Next up was Aversions Crown from Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. The band formed in 2010 perfecting their death metal sound touring all across Europe, UK, and Australia before releasing their first album ‘Tyrant’ in 2014. The album’s theme around “dystopian nightmares and hostile extraterrestrial encounters” (per their page on Nuclear Blast) put them on a long touring cycle including festivals. The band was well received in their tours in Europe and the UK. After finishing their tour they began work on their second album. ‘Xenocide’ was released in 2017 and though took a different direction on their death metal sound, still maintained their impactful pit moshing metal. The band consists of Mark Poida (vocals), Chris Cougan (guitar), Jayden Mason (drums), and ick Jeffery (bass).
Aversions Crown had the crowd moshing and moving hard as they played through their set. Mark’s screaming to deep hardcore vocals is amazing to hear live. For a vocalist to go through such range so quickly through songs is very impressive. Chris, Jeffery, and Jayden made the fans work hard with the fast pace they kept up throughout their set. By the time they finished, the crowd gave them a loud cheer and put up horns high as they left the stage.
The Italian metal band Fleshgod Apocalypse came to the stage. Formed back in 2007 it didn’t take long for them to catch the attention of Europe metal fans as they were touring months after releasing their first demo and had their first full-length album ‘Oracles’ released in 2009. They quickly followed up on their success with the EP ‘Mafia’ released in 2010 and their second album ‘Agony’ in August 2011. Two years later the band released ‘Labyrinth’ through Nuclear Blast Records. It wouldn’t be until 2016 when the band released their most recent album ‘King’ being very meticulous on their songwriting for this album. Fleshgod Apocalypse consists of full-time members Francesco Paoli (vocals, guitar), Paolo Rossi (bass), Francesco Ferrini (piano). Touring with them were Veronica Bordacchini (soprano vocals), Fabio Bartoletti (guitar), and David Folchitto (drums).
The band actually toured with The Black Dahlia Murder and Whitechapel in 2011 on the Summer Slaughter tour. The band took the fans who haven’t seen them off guard as they walked out in 1700s style clothing wearing pale to gray makeup making them look undead. It was definitely a unique look for a heavy metal band, but don’t let the clothing fool you. Fleshgod Apocalypse was ready to rip our faces off with metal. The band opened with “The Deceit” from their album ‘Agony’. It’s hard paced, fast, with that deep booming vocals style. The crowd was loving it. They followed it with “The Violation” also from ‘The Agony’ which literally follows “The Deceit” on the album. When they brought out Veronica during “Healing Through War” from ‘King’ the song felt more like an operatic and heavy metal mix. And I loved it. The crowd was loving it too and as they played through the rest including “Cold as Perfection”, “Epilogue”, “The Fool”, “The Egoism”, and “The Forsaking”. Fleshgod Apocalypse definitely made me a fan.
The crowd was getting antsy and excited for The Black Dahlia Murder to come to the stage. The band from Waterford, MI formed around 2001 and released a demo and a four-track EP. By 2003 Metal Blade Records signed them and the band released their first full-length album titled ‘Unhallowed’. Though the album didn’t chart on Billboard, their second album ‘Miasma’ released in July 2005 hit #118 on the Billboard Top 200 and reached #1 on the U.S. Heatseeker Billboard chart. Their next 6 albums would all chart on Billboard Top 200. Their most recent album, ‘Nightbringers’, released on October 6, 2017, peaked at #35 on the Billboard Top 200. The Black Dahlia Murder is Trevor Strnad (vocals), Brian Eschbach (rhythm guitar), Max Lavelle (bass), Alan Cassidy (drums), and Brandon Ellis (lead guitar).
As soon as the band walked out the crowd applauded and screamed. The support for them that night was massive. The band wasn’t going to waste any time playing their entire album of ‘Nightbringers’ from beginning to end. Starting off with “Widowmaker” and finishing with “The Lonely Deceased”, the band’s death metal blew away the crowd for 33 minutes before moving on into older material. They finished off their set with “Everything Went Black” from the 2007 album ‘Nocturnal’, “Statutory Ape” from the 2005 album ‘Miasma’, and “Deathmask Divine” from the 2007 album ‘Nocturnal’. The crowd was beyond pleased with their set providing the band with a huge ovation as they walked off stage.
The crowd cheered early on as the Whitechapel banner was displayed behind the drumset with the stage was still being setup. The band from Knoxville, TN formed in 2006, naming themselves after the district in London where Jack The Ripper performed his gruesome murders. In 2007 the band signed with Candlelight Records and released their debut album ‘The Somatic Defilement’. Later that year they signed with Metal Blade Records and in 2008 release their second album ‘This Is Exile’ and like The Black Dahlia Murder, their second album peaked at #118 on the Billboard Top 200. They would go on to release four additional albums with their fifth album ‘Our Endless War’ peaking at #10 in the Billboard Top 200. Their latest album ‘Mark of the Blade’ was released in June 2016. Whitechapel is Phil Bozeman (vocals), Ben Savage (guitar), Alex Wade (guitar), Gabe Crisp (bass), Zach Householder (guitar), and touring member Ernie Iniguez (drums).
When Whitechapel came to the stage, they received the same cheers as The Black Dahlia Murder. The fans were excited, the band looked ready, and drove straight into the first track of ‘This Is Exile’, “Father of Lies”. The band was ripping through the music, playing hard, singing hard, and all out leaving it all on the stage. When they moved on to the title track, I was amazed at their speed and ferocity. And they were only into song #2! The 11 song set was amazing to hear and see live. When they finished “Messiahbolical”, the fans roared in approval.
This was a mind-blowing amazing show by all the bands I got to see. If you haven’t had the chance to see any of these bands live, don’t miss them the next time they come to your area.