Fleshgod Apocalypse - King Review

Fleshgod Apocalypse - King
Fleshgod Apocalypse - King. Nuclear Blast Records

Merging classical, opera and death metal is a movement that has been growing rapidly within the metal world. Septicflesh have been on the forefront and leaders in a genre that gets as brutal as any metal has to offer. In a short time Italy’s Fleshgod Apocalypse have exploded onto the scene and are continuing to push the genre in new directions.

Their work ethic is inspirational as King is their fourth full-length release since 2009.

In a genre that is as intricate and detail oriented as the music they produce, that is astounding. Not only using orchestral enhancements, the songwriting is built around the classical compositions and actually drives the material forward. 

Just as influenced by John Williams and Hans Zimmer as Morbid Angel and Deicide, Fleshgod Apocalypse are an enigma whose music needs to be unraveled and explored intricately. The musicianship is stellar and helps elevate the songwriting to the highest possible plateau.

Like on previous releases, King is a concept album that threads each composition together. Dealing with an ancient society that is coming to its fruition, the King is an incorruptible positive influence that personifies justice, integrity and wisdom and he is trying to uncover the same qualities in everyone. This is an in depth political statement on our current society and its pitfalls.

Starting where Labyrinth finished off, King expands on the core concepts of their style. Taking over nine months to record, the songwriting is meticulous and expansive. Depending on the track, the music is either guided by the orchestration or classic death metal riffing.

Vocalist Tommaso Riccardi possesses a tremendous guttural roar.

As deep and aggressive as anyone in the industry, his throaty scream bridges the gap between the destructive and melodic. On the songs “And The Vulture Beholds,” “In Aeternum” and  “Syphilis” they are at their zenith. Drummer Francesco Paoli is machinelike as his double kicks are jaw dropping.

When they have a lot of changes within their songwriting it helps greatly to diversify the material. At times the songwriting becomes repetitive and it is hard to distinguish one song from the next.

“Healing Through Water” and “Gravity” rely on quick staccato riffs where “Mitra” and “The Fool” travel at light speed with incredibly fast blast beats. Clean vocalist Paolo Rossi adds a lighter shade and creates a nice balance with the low growls.

Fleshgod Apocalypse bring a lot of dynamics to the table. The title track ends the album on a high note, a classically composed piano piece that would be right at home on a Beethoven sonata. “Paramour” (Die Leidenschaft Bringt Leiden)” brings opera to the forefront and can be a little over the top. It works much better in pieces and is overbearing when utilized as a complete song.

King can be a laborious listen, as it doesn’t follow conventional songwriting.

It is a worthy follow up to Labyrinth, but doesn’t reach the high standards of Agony. Continuing to move the symphonic death metal movement forward, Fleshgod Apocalypse are starting to set the standard that the genre should reach for. 

(released February 5th, 2016 on Nuclear Blast Records)