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Fleshgod Apocalypse - Oracles CD (album) cover


Fleshgod Apocalypse

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Oracles' - Fleshgod Apocalypse (7/10)

For me, death metal is and likely always has been something that I'll either really like, or not care for. Much of it finds its technical brilliance marred by poor recording values, or a lack of tact when it comes to songwriting. Enter Fleshgod Apocalypse, a band that has stirred the death metal circle with only a single studio album and EP on the market, disregarding demos. I first came across this band with their 2010 EP 'Mafia', and was pleasantly blown away by the technical ferocity and heaviness of the band. On top of that, I immediately recongized their connection to erudite classical music, which only set them further apart from the legions of typical death metal acts. Seeking out the full length, I have not been disappointed. 'Oracles' is a vicious forty minutes of death metal that seeks to impress. Apparently, it succeeds to a fair extent.

My first impression of the record is that of extreme heaviness, surprisingly clean production, and the evidence of classical sections which really seek to add a level of regal class to what Fleshgod Apocalypse does. While there is not the same melodic proficiency as I first heard on 'Mafia', the classical parts really impress me; the arrangements do not quite sound as if they are performed by a live orchestra, but they are close enough to do the compositions justice. In the death metal elements themselves, there are also plenty of neoclassical riffs, played at rapid pace, to the point where they can get exhausting by the end.

The most powerful aspect of Fleshgod Apocalypse is tied between the rhythm guitar and the furious drumwork, courtesy here of Mauro Mercurio. The band has just a powerful ability to make the heavy sound beautiful as well, but unfortunately 'Oracles' still does not stand as a masterpiece in my eyes. This is greatly due to the songwriting itself, which is strong enough for death metal, but many of the songs feature little to no distinguishing traits, apart from the classical nuance here and there. In fact, the greatest impression left by any single track is the title song, which is ironically a classical piano piece.

Fleshgod Apocalypse would later go on to polish up their act even further, but there's no surprise to me when I hear metalheads speaking so highly of the album. With a little greater focus within each song, the band's next full length could be a real landmark for death metal.

Report this review (#423754)
Posted Sunday, March 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Oracles is the debut full-length studio album by Italian death metal act Fleshgod Apocalypse. The album was released in March 2009 by Willowtip Records.

The music on Oracles is brutal death metal but there´s a twist. While most really brutal death metal acts first and foremost focus on brutality and in the process have a tendency to sound rather one-dimensional over the course of a full album, Fleshgod Apocalypse incorporate neo-classical shredding and arrangements and some rather impressive technical playing to their music, which I find is great for the diversity and sound of Oracles. This is actually a really brutal death metal album that I can sit through and feel entertained by most of the time. It does become a bit too monotone a couple of times during the playing time, but mostly I´m salivating over one powerful technical part and intriguing neo-classical shred after another. The vocals are brutal deep growls and personally I could have wished for a bit more variation, but the vocals get the job done and they are not terrible by any means.

Oracles is a rather unique brutal death metal album and a great start to Fleshgod Apocalypse career. They prove on this album that they are ready to take that extra step to create some unique sounding music without sacrificing brutality. Very interesting debut and a 3.5 - 4 star rating is deserved.

Report this review (#453313)
Posted Sunday, May 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars If Blind Guardian was a Brutal Death Metal band, they call Fleshgod Apocalypse.

What first drew me to Fleshgod Apocalypse was their album covers. Attractive. About their music? Mafia was a good EP and it was my first contact with the band. And this one is not left behind. The first drum beats of the opening remind me of deathcore, but I was instantly wrong (for god's sake). A few seconds after, it turns into a brutal never ending blast beat. But the classical influences are still there. The leading guitars are epic and for real, sounds like Blind Guardian leading solos/riffs brutal version. Sometimes the album brought me melodic black metal on my mind, maybe because of the epic classical tendencies. The album is full of classical/symphonic interludes. And the last song is another piano solo, but I personally prefer Mafia last track. Every track shows something different. But the drums, as expected from a brutal enough band, sound repetitive. Mafia EP was short, so the drums equality doesn't bother at all. But this is a full-lenght. Yeah, is not repetitive at all, but I'm actually bored of exageratted bands. I'm much more into oldschool death metal or avant-garde (gorguts, etc). But this is something personal, so it will not influence my review.

A decent work from a decent band.

Report this review (#957236)
Posted Friday, May 10, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not sure why FGA is on the site. They are a technical death metal band, though they're more known for writing symphonic death metal. Oracles is their debut album, and a precursor to their more signature symphonic sound. A brief 37 minutes of tech death with the occasional classical-inspired interlude, it is a fairly average album.

The symphonic and classical elements are present on this album in minimal quantities, and never played simultaneously or layered over the main focus ? metal. The full synthesis of the two contrasting styles doesn't happen until the second album, Agony. Here, they only seem to experiment with classical, and I get the impression that they didn't know how to incorporate it into their songs, or even if they wanted to. It was an indicator of what they would become, but in reference to only this album, the classical presence seems quirky and out of place. The beautiful symphonic flourishes bizarrely contrast the brutal death metal, with no skillful transition between the two and no reason for the former to exist. Despite its value as an interlude to break up the tech death, the symphonic parts serve no other musical purpose other than to confuse the listener.

The tech death is, to reiterate, the main focus of the album ? and it's good, but nothing really out of the ordinary. The bass is hardly audible for the most part, besides the rare, impressive break. The drums are incredibly solid, tying everything together. The vocals are somewhat lacking, without the extra viciousness that makes for great death growling ? now and then, Paoli hits a scream that sounds eerily like Cannibal Corpse's vocalist, but usually his voice is only slightly harsher than Dethklok's "Nathan Explosion." Fortunately, the annoying clean vocals that became more prevalent in later releases are not present on Oracles ? to put it bluntly, they suck. Few of the album's riffs are memorable, but the guitarist produces the occasional well-performed, short lead. The lyrics deal with anti-religion, and the band tries to sound smart by using plenty of big words, obviously forgetting that no one can understand what they're saying anyway... but then there's the excruciatingly stereotypical lines "Everybody kill! Kill... suffer!" from Infection of the White Throne.

Oracles is a more straightforward tech death release, as opposed to Agony, the album that showcases FGA's trademark, more symphonic sound. Agony is preferably the album to start with; if you don't like the classical elements, come back to this.

Report this review (#1445276)
Posted Sunday, July 26, 2015 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Classical music and brutal death metal may sound as appealing as pickles and ice cream (unless you're pregnant) but once upon a time in a galaxy not far away, well THIS one, the same was true of chocolate and peanut butter until two individuals bumped into each other on the street and one's chocolate fell into the other's peanut butter and thus Reese's peanut butter cups were born. Well here we have a similar effect where symphonic classical orchestrations meet the most extreme brutal death metal. Yeah, i know the death metal often wins in the battle but when it sleeps, the symphony awakes. To be fair, the death metal is also unique in that it contains neoclassical guitar solos.

FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE debuted in 2009 with ORACLES and brings these two genres neck in neck and in all honesty the brutal death metal wins out. Mixing such such extreme genres is nothing new of course. Rhapsody, Angra, Therion and probably their closest cousin Septicflesh all started mixing classical music around extreme metal elements but i would have to vote FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE as being the most EXTREME of the lot with the most unrelenting brutality incorporating all the usual suspects death metal has to offer such as the growly guttural vocals, the highly distorted breakneck speed guitar and bass riffing and the blastbeat a million beats per second drumming. The music is technical to be sure but it is more mechanical and focused on just pounding the bleep out of your eardrums.

Yeah, this is tech death metal. Cold, sterile, brutal, designed to wake the dead. While it may seem this is a death match of classical vs. death metal, the fact is that the classical for the most part is simply entwined in the very fabric of the songs themselves. They seem to be written firstly as classical music and then the classical is dropped and layered upon with brutal death metal which is a clear contrast to bands likes Septicflesh tha t merely seem to symphonically embellish extreme metal. ORACLES isn't gonna convert classical music aficionados to brutal death metal lovers or vice versa but it will certainly appeal to those who love both genres and can appreciate the audacity of layering different genres together in a creative way. Think of it as extreme mashups and you'll get the picture! This is a confident and well-produced debut that shows that Italian music isn't all about romanticism and pastoral prog, they can also take the most melodic music and turn it into the most extreme headache music that would put second wave of black metal to shame.

Report this review (#1524445)
Posted Tuesday, February 2, 2016 | Review Permalink

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