Italian metal titans Fleshgod Apocalypse
formed in 2007 in Perugia/Roma, Italy. From then on, they deeply carved their name onto the metal world through their signature blend of dramatic symphonies and brutal, unrelenting death metal, with albums such as "Agony
" and "Labyrinth
" winning countless fans over. Cut to about nine years later, and said metal world would witness the released of their fourth full-length simply titled "King
I've had my eye on Fleshgod Apocalypse
since I listened to a bit of their "Mafia" EP back in 2010. Following that was their second full-length "Agony
" in 2011, which was decent enough, but really could've used more dynamic. Then came their third full-length album in 2013 called "Labyrinth
," which was a step up in terms of its writing with more memorable highlights than the group's previous works, but wasn't quite all there just yet. To sum up, this band's music has always been intriguing and showcased a lot of potential that was yet to be fully realized. Luckily, said potential seems to have come to fruition with their latest studio record "King
," where great song-writing takes form and the theatrics are as compelling as ever.
To start off, though, we have the band's musicianship; it continues to show plenty of signs of improvement from earlier records. The aggressive death metal roars, though not possessing too much range, do still hold their weight as well as ever. The clean singing, on the other hand, is particularly worth noting; they aren't quite as over-the-top and shrill as they used to be, and yet there's still a lot of energy to them (The chorus in "The Fool
" is the best example of this). On top of that, the guitar work has also seen a little more growth; they take more of a role in the music with their crunchy, dark riffs and don't merely play second fiddle to the orchestral ensembles anymore (Case in point, the high-pitch shredding in "Mitra"). The drums also show off more dynamic than before, being enjoyably complex and fluctuating between fast and slow without relying too much on blast beats. Overall, not only is the instrumentation sturdy and well-done on its own, but in context of the band's other material, it has very much evolved.
SpeaKing of musicianship, as with the band's previous efforts, the symphonic elements in "King
" are fantastic; so much so that all of the songs even have their own instrumental, theatrical versions. Both
the choirs and the orchestras do such a great job of creating this grand, cinematic atmosphere that makes the music feel huge. One particular instance worth noting is soprano singer Veronica Bordacchini, who not only makes appearances in a few of the songs, but even stars in her own track. Said track is an operatic interlude called "Paramour (Die
Leidenschaft Bringt Leiden
)," and her vocals deliver quite well. All singers and musicians involved with this project do a remarkable job of cooKing up a lot of ambiance to engage even the most jaded of listeners.
Helping this gripping sense of atmosphere is the music's very potent mixing. Jens Bogren, the album's producer and recording engineer, has done the same work for many other seasoned bands in the past (Amon Amarth
, Symphony X
), and he does great here as usual. He's always had a talent of mixing the heaviness of a band's metallic and aggressive musicianship with some symphonic ambiance to make for some impressive results. At times, maybe the music does sound a touch too stuffy and blended, but those moments are few and far between; the production is yet another aspect of "King
" that's worth praising.
SpeaKing of which, that really is the best way to describe this album: Grand and epic. There isn't a single moment in it that lacks this very theatrical edge to draw the audience in. Everything from the production to the way the music itself is put together gives way for a large, cinematic ambiance only a band such as Fleshgod Apocalypse
could achieve. Listening to the record feels like sitting in the middle of a huge ensemble of strings and brasses and whatnot, with some highly aggressive and heavy-fisted death metal mixed in. These two extremes mesh so well together, however, that nothing ever feels forced or tacked-on; instead, they make for a really destructive and dramatic experience. This might even be recommendable to people outside of the metal genre for this quality alone.
Not only does the music sound empowering, but its writing and composing also fare very well. The general problem with Fleshgod Apocalypse
's past works is that they tend to lack dynamic and variety. "King
," however, seems to have wiped that flaw clean off the map. Pretty much every song in the album has something different to offer to the listener, and that comes from how much variety the music has. The tracks range from slow and steady (Cold
as Perfection, Gravity
) to fast-paced and unrelenting (The Fool
, A Million
Deaths), and both sides work off of each other great. To elaborate, they share the same dark, epic tone so that the music is overall consistent, yet they also have enough dynamic and variance among themselves that it's entertaining all the way through. Drummer and songwriter Francesco Paoli stated in an article that "King
" is "a sign of more maturity and determination within the band," and it really shows in the band's way of crafting these songs.
" is not only a mark of Fleshgod Apocalypse
's maturity and growth in their sound, but it's also one of the most powerful death metal albums to be aired as of late. Both
the musicianship and composition have showcased a lot of maturity, and even from the perspective of those new to the band, both elements are incredibly well-done. The grand-sounding orchestras, the tight mixing, the sizable amount of dynamic and diversity in between songs, and other aspects make for one stellar release. Maybe it has a couple minor issues, but in the face of all the record has accomplished, they're quite insignificant. "King
" is the band's best work yet, and I strongly recommend it to anyone looKing for something both aggressive and epic to blast on their speakers. Fleshgod Apocalypse
has taken up its throne.
Originally posted on: http://metaljerky.blogspot.com/