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Fleshgod Apocalypse - Agony CD (album) cover

AGONY

Fleshgod Apocalypse

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.03 | 19 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 'Agony' - Fleshgod Apocalypse (9/10)

For me, death metal is a style of music that I can at least respect, but it usually takes an added dimension in the music for me to really enjoy it. Fleshgod Apocalypse are one such band that has managed to take the fury of technical death metal and done something off- center with it, fusing the blistering heaviness with symphonic undertones and neoclassically-derived riffs. 'Oracles' and their subsequent EP 'Mafia' both largely impressed me, and with that, the arrival of 'Agony' was something I was eager to check out. As my intuition may have suggested to me, Fleshgod Apocalypse are continuing to distinguish their sound from the legions of other tech death acts out there, creating an epic suite of music that could be said to be death metal's response to classical music.

'Agony' is a brilliant sophomore in the sense that it not only improves upon what the band was originally doing, but the sound has been tweaked and intensified. As far as technical death metal goes, Fleshgod Apocalypse are at the top of the game. Crushing riffs and some of the most intense drumming I have ever heard have been the core of the band since I first heard them. To steer them away from the sounds of similar acts however is some surprisingly melodic neoclassical guitar solos that soar overtop the brutality, and the vocal duties are shared between the fairly typical growls of Tommaso Riccardi, and the higher register 'power metal' wail of bassist Paolo Rossi, whose highly melodic, quasi-operatic way of singing is always a refreshing change of pace from the rest. There have also been orchestral arrangements in the past, usually twittering around here and there in order to accentuate certain parts and give them that extra dose of class and charm. The symphonic element to Fleshgod Apocalypse has always been appreciated in the past, but at least on the debut, it almost felt more like a gimmick, rather than a full-fledged part of the music.

This is where 'Agony'' comes in.

Not only have the orchestral arrangements been improved greatly, but they are now an integral part of what Fleshgod offers. Virtually the entire course of brutality on 'Agony' is accompanied by gorgeous symphonic arrangements, and here they are far from a gimmick; they easily add a whole new dimension of sound and intensity to the band. Christiano Trionfera's orchestral writing here is on par with that of a neoclassical, or film score writer, and the orchestration manages to capture both an added sense of peril, and beauty to what the band does. Fleshgod Apocalypse would have still contributed a very capable technical death metal album to listeners even were it not for this orchestral angle, but its the brilliant fusion of Italian classical sensibilities that elevates the band to the realm of masters.

The album flows together like a single piece of music; a technical death metal symphony, one might say. The highlights here certainly include most of the parts where the clean vocals are used, as well as the classical orchestrations, as well as where Fleshgod Apocalypse decide to reach their most crushing and heavy. It can certainly be said that the sheer speed and complexity of the music can make it a tough egg to crack for those who are not used to such technical music. Fleshgod Apocalypse's 'Agony' is a stunning masterpiece in virtually every regard however, and even with this only being their second album, I would safely declare that Fleshgod are the new masters of modern death metal.

Conor Fynes | 5/5 |

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