Fleshgod Apocalypse
Veleno
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Though I enjoyed every release from Italy’s Fleshgod Apocalypse, going back to 2009s Oracles, I’ve enjoyed some, like 2011s Agony (My album of the year) and 2016s  King, more than others (2013s Labyrinth), but King, really saw the band create the perfect balance between the tech death chaos and the sweeping orchestral majesty that is the band’s signature, and that continues with Veleno.

However, Veleno (‘venom’) sees some significant changes from King. The line up has shuffled with long time members Christiano Trionfera and Tommaso Ricardi leaving the fray, essentially leaving the band as a three piece with some shifting responsibilities with Francisco Paoli moving from drums to vocals and guitars. But they are aided by session members David Folchitto (Stormlord) on drums and Fabio Bartoletti (Deceptionist) on guitars, but casual listeners will be be none the wiser. Also, Jens Bogren (Amon Amarth, Amorphis, At the Gates etc),  who took the mixing mastering helm on King with stellar results, is replaced  by equally as reputable Jacob Hansen (Delain, Epica, Sirenia), (maybe due to his experience with symphonic bands?), but again, causal listeners wont be able to tell, as Veleno sounds amazing.

Musically, Veleno is the bands most varied and free flowing album, but still retains all the elements that make the band so unique. The bombastic Bach and Mozart inspired orchestration melding with brutal Italian death metal (think former bands  of Fleshgod members ,  Bloodtruth and Hour of Penance etc), is still present, but there’s a looseness and free-form progression and experimentation floating around the airtight death metal and symphonics, and the bands largest amount of slow or controlled songs in the bands discography, but they are still magnificent.

Opening with the aptly named “Fury”, the album immediately shows you the band’s  signature style from albums past with staccato blasting and fans of the bands more direct style will also enjoy second track “Carnivorous Lamb” (with its movie score quality opening orchestration), hammering “Worship and Forget” (actually one of my favorites from the album), first single, “Sugar” and “Pissing on the Score” (arguably the album’s only ‘throwaway’ track), However on Veleno, about half of the album’s songs are more varied, controlled and atmospheric, with big regal, dramatic marches and staggering, shifting time changes and moods. Songs like the gothic jaunt of “Monnalisa”, which might upset some fans and “Absinthe”,  but there are so many moments of spectacularly epic orchestration in these slower, more open tracks, they hit home harder, especially the mid point of the aforementioned “Monnalisa” and epic closing of “Absinthe”.

Then the last segment of the album with its closing  instrumental title track and two longer, much slower, moody tracks. is where the album really opens up its somber wings. “The Day We’ll Be Gone” is a full on ballad complete with female soprano duet, but it builds and swells to a stirring operatic crescendo and close. Then the 8 minute “Embrace the Oblivion”, delivers yet more movie score quality orchestration (how some of these guys haven’t been commissioned to do movie soundtracks yet is beyond me) about 3 minutes in that’s mind blowingly dramatic, and settles into a perfect album ending allargando tempo.

Another hit from Fleshgod Apocalypse despite the significant lineup shuffle, and once again, even with Kull’s vaunted emergence , showing that they are the kings of Symphonic extreme metal, and as with all prior albums, has a sure place on my year end list.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
May 27th, 2019

Comments

  1. Commented by: K. Allred

    So stoked to hear this in full. I only allowed myself to listen to one new track online and decided to wait until the album shows up at my house to indulge in it fully and properly. Of course I’m still waiting on Amazon…great write up btw…\m/


  2. Commented by: Vegard

    Guess I’m alone in missing the Mafia days…


  3. Commented by: F. Rini

    Great review. I’m awaiting the cd/Blu ray combo I ordered.
    Vegard- I love their earlier material as well, but they kinda needed to go in a diff direction because the Italian dm scene was getting over saturated in brutal dm. Fleshgod now stands as more original, I feel.


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