Fleshgod Apocalypse – Agony
A review by: Nick Licata
Very seldom is there a band that releases an album and has you begging for more soon after first listen. Fleshgod Apocalypse, Symphonic Technical Death Metal band, from Roma/Perugia, Italy have done just that with their third album (second LP) “Agony.” This album was released Aug. 9th, 2011 and typically I wouldn’t have waited so long to review an album, but I mean come on this one deserves all the attention it can get. Also, when you tell the band you are gonna review their album for your magazine, you probably shouldn’t let them down by not doing it. I remember the first time I listened to Fleshgod Apocalypse back in April 2009, just shortly after the release of their debut album, “Oracles” I was blown away by this Tech Death band that was incorporating a Neo-Classical vibe to their music. While I know they aren’t the first band to do this, they are the first band to do it to my liking. Almost exactly a year later came the release of their “Mafia EP,” and this is when I knew not only were they here to stay, but they would be my go to band a.k.a. my new favorite! Not only was Mafia just what you would need to settle your excitement for a new album, but it introduced the clean vocal style of bassist, Paolo Rossi.
January/Febuary 2011-ish, I am looking through the latest Decibel, Terrorizer, Metal Hammer Magazine at the up and coming releases for the year, and among those bands I built my excitement to see that Fleshgod was returning with a full length due out in December. . . SO FAR AWAY!! Immediately I got to talking with the drummer, Francesco Paoli, about it and he informed me that not only was it going to be fast and epic. . enter name Fastgod Epicolypse, but that instead of December they were eyeing a July/August release, with a second US tour coming up along with the release. I was lucky enough to catch them on their US debut tour with Suffocation back in October 2010 and just as when I first heard their debut album I wanted more. They perform just as if listening to the cd really, REALLY LOUD and it is perfect.
Finally the day comes that Agony is released, naturally I have to look a few different places first, but alas I find it and pop it into my car as quick as I can. Immediately, the first song. . well instrumental intro song kicks in and the anticipation builds. Kicking off the album with an almost classical piece, very haunting sounding and slowly building to lead into second song, The Hypocrisy, and I couldn’t have been more amped for the rest of the cd. Speakers blasting, I wanted the world to hear the same epicness that I was being fed by my car stereo.
The album is very strong from start of the album with Temptation all the way to the end with classical piano piece and title track Agony, how they close out all their albums. In between is a slew of onslaught presented by brutal drumming, crunching guitar riffs, and guttural vocals throughout. What I enjoy most about this album is not only did they continue with the use of Paoli’s clean vocals in some of the tracks, but even lead singer Tommaso Riccardi tends to incorporate a few different vocal styles in this album, as well as inclusion of Italian Opera singer Veronica Bordacchini in a couple tracks (Temptation & The Egoisim). My particular favorite track The Forsaking, which comes late in the mix is a very haunting sounding track. I love this song for the sole reason that it is mostly piano, vocals and drums laying down the entire track, guitar and bass open the track up and present the chorus, but even then they are more in the background than anything.
As much as I want to give a track by track break down, I feel like that could go on forever as every track is pretty mind-blowing in my honest opinion. If you haven’t already heard this album yet, you are missing out. . .especially if you are a fan of the predecessor album “Oracles.” This was one of my top albums of 2011 for many reasons 1) It is very well constructed, it flows from start to finish leaving you wanting more by the end of the almost 50 minute album. 2) I am a huge fan of experimentation and while it might not seem too far fetched to have an Italian opera singer, singing the native language in one of your songs if you are an Italian band. . The Egoism is a fantastic display of both brutal death metal and beautiful opera vocals. 3) The anxiety that builds every day, like when you were a kid and your parents said “if you do well in school this year we will buy you a new toy/video game,” that is how I feel after listening to this album and anticipating the day I get to see them perform these songs live! I highly recommend this album to fans of Behemoth, Hate, and Scrambled Defuncts. (4.5/5)
Official Video for The Violation: