Marathon got off to a brutal start last night with the New York stop on the Conquerors Of The World Tour, a gathering of some of the most talented, geographically diverse metal acts on the planet. Headlined by Greek symphonic metal masters Septicflesh, the intimate gig had plenty of moshable moments, buttressed by impressive production and an enthusiastic, though restrained, crowd.
Each of the five bands on the bill hailed from somewhere other than Brooklyn or Tampa. In fact, with the exception of Inquisition, it was a purely international affair. There was the Canadian-Roman fury of Ex Deo (complete with gladiator costumes!), the byzantine stylings of Israel’s Melechesh and the ruthless onslaught of Brazilian death metallers Krisiun. The riffs were relentless, the blast-beats pulverizing, and as Krisiun exited the stage with cries of “encore,” it seemed like nothing could top this sonic exchange.
Except for Septicflesh. The Athens quartet came onstage to ambient chants and followed up with a decisively dramatic affair. Frontman Spiros “Seth” Antoniou repeatedly urged the crowd to push past its comfort zone, to scream and shout and turn Septicflesh’s circle pit into the most fearsome gyre of the night. And they obeyed, as the band doled out a generous selection of hits off of its latest LP, The Great Mass, as well as older fan favorites like “Anubis” and “Persepolis.” While the Gramercy was by no means filled to capacity, it was still a room packed full of positive energy. Grim as the music may be, we metalheads are a friendly bunch, and last night’s spectacle of a show set the tone for what should be a wicked, raucous five days.
Photos by Al Rossin