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Fleshgod Apocalypse - Labyrinth CD (album) cover


Fleshgod Apocalypse

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Labyrinth" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Italian death metal act Fleshgod Apocalypse. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in August 2013.

Stylistically the bandīs music might be rooted in brutal technical death metal, but they incorporate symphonic orchestral arrangements to their material and also male clean vocals and female operatic singing in addition to the growling vocals. The latter is the dominant vocal style on the album. The playing is on a very high technical level and especially drummer Francesco Paoli should be mentioned for his incredibly fast and adventurous playing. There is a neo-classical edge to some sections, but Iīd call this symphonic before Iīd call it neo-classical tinged.

The album feautures a professional and powerful sound production, which successfully combines the brutal technical death metal foundation of the music with the classical symphonic orchestration. Itīs not necessarily an easy task producing music as layered as this is without losing a couple of details in the sometimes chaotic soundscape.

Upon conclusion "Labyrinth" is a high quality release by Fleshgod Apocalypse and yet another example of why they are often refered to as one of the leading symphonic death metal acts on the scene. Be prepared to be met with a non-stop wall of sound, very well played technical parts and a brutality level thatīs pretty high on the scale. There are plenty of melodic moments on the album to compliment the more raw parts of the music though, so "Labyrinth" may speak to quite a few extreme metal listeners. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#1156964)
Posted Thursday, April 3, 2014 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars Let the demons and divas play! FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE have become the masters of mixing lush symphonic orchestral arrangements with their trademark brutal death metal that somehow infuses them with touches of power metal including the melodic and often sweeping guitar solos. LABYRINTH is their fourth overall release (3rd full) and continues their tradition of changing things up without sacrificing any of the elements that makes them fairly unique in the burgeoning extreme metal world these days.

What is the same is their usual formula of taking ample amounts of extreme metal, most notably in the death metal department which includes the grim, guttural and growly vocals of Tommaso Riccardi, the down tuned brutal guitar and bass assaults and the frenetic technical wizardry of Francesco Paoli's extraordinary brutal and beastly drumming performances. Like "Agony" where the band stepped up the classical orchestral aspects, LABYRINTH carries that torch even further by extending the role of the symphonics. And once again the tracks all flow together seamlessly as to give a simple album feel broken into many acts or parts rather than completely detached pieces of music. 
What's different on this album is how much more the band has expanded their sound and songwriting. In the beginning the symphonic aspects were tamped down by the death metal and by "Agony" finally found their equal footing but on LABYRINTH they are allowed a lot more room to breath, expand and dominate. The scales are certainly more tipped in this direction as the death metal beast although not having been even close to retired has at least taken a back seat for significant portions of the album. We simply get more completely classical parts that not only make up intros and outros but grace transitioning sections within tracks as well as vying with the metal parts in every part of the album. There are also more uses of Paolo Rossi's clean vocals as well as the operatic diva enchantress duties of Veronica Bordacchini who has free reign at times while other times being part of the beauty and beast team where all three vocalists are harmonizing together.

This is the most diverse album by FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE yet. The arrangements are much more complex and both the classical and metal characteristics have expanded their tentacles into new arenas. The classical not only includes more operatic moments but incorporates expanded Chopin-esque piano and for the first time has acoustic classical guitar as well as the usual neoclassical soloing. On the metal side there are different types of riffs that emerge now and again. There are moments of thrash, industrial and traditional metal in the mix that don't replace the dominate death metal but merely augment. And the way all these instrumental roles mix together sounds fresh and unlike previous albums as well.

At this point, the increase in symphonic involvement does bring bands like Septicflesh to mind however FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE remains more extreme and complex than their Greek cousins and often brings the Canadian Unexpect to mind in its frenetic and unforgiving fusion but once again doesn't quite throw down the extreme avant-garde gauntlet like that band has. The sound stays within the parameters of the sonic collaborative frenzy of classical music with death metal and only mildly extends those boundaries. This is another brilliant album by FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE and i only prefer this one slightly less to "Agony" simply because in the balancing act of symphonic vs. metal i feel they went a little overboard with the symphonic aspects but it is simply a matter of taste and only a minor quiver since the compositions overall exude a more sophisticated approach hinting at the fact that FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE are continuously evolving their sound and haven't yet unleashed the best that the beast has to offer.

Report this review (#1526186)
Posted Saturday, February 6, 2016 | Review Permalink

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