For Fans Of
Fleshgod Apocalypse are known for bringing hard and heavy sounds, and mixing it with their Italian roots. Previous albums have featured orchestral sounds as well as the combination of high, clean vocals that pay homage to the band’s national culture. First full-length, ‘Oracle‘ was met with great success, bringing a fresh look at technical death metal, while predecessor ‘Agony‘ was met with some criticism due to the focus on orchestral sounds over the guitar work. Now Fleshgod Apocalypse have brought out third album, ‘Labyrinth,’ which manages to find the good balance between the two previous albums.
‘Kingborn‘ begins with a one minute introduction before moving into a sea of orchestral/technical death metal. This introduction does really well to set up the theme of the album. Listening to the opening, which includes sounds of panting and walking, a bit like walking through a forest in a video game really pulls you into the album and its story. Fleshgod have done well to create the experience of being in the labyrinth as you listen to the album.
Fleshgod Apocalypse earn back their "technical" label, which was arguably lost with ‘Agony,’ as the guitars take a full frontal spot in this album. Rather than one sound being an overpowering force they manage to incorporate just the right amount of heavy, chugging guitars and symphonic, orchestral sounds. They also manage to make these aforementioned orchestral sounds present themselves in a heavy way, even sounds from instruments, such as the violin, feel like they fit well to increase the albums brutal sound and imagery.
Throughout the record we are also faced with three different types of vocals: the dark growls, the high pitched voice and then the background singing. The high pitched croons, which was so criticised from ‘Agony‘ makes less of an appearance on this album, but just enough to create something technical and something to create a good bridge between the intense, heaviness of the metal vocals/instrumentals and the classic orchestral sounds. ‘Prologue‘ is interesting, giving your ears a little rest. But, just as you hit your calm point, ‘Epilogue‘ realigns the brutal undertones.
‘Labyrinth‘ has so many elements to it that it perhaps provides a risk for a serious downfall. Fleshgod Apocalypse manage to pull these sounds off pretty well though. This album just needs to be looked at closely, listened to over a few times and you can see the technicality to it. Perfecting the integration of orchestral into metal has always proved something hard and Fleshgod haven’t quite hit that mark of the absolute perfect blend, however they have done a pretty good job at it. There are some imperfections to the album yet there are some great songs on there that your average metal head may love.
Overall ‘Labyrinth’ is of quite a high standard. The mix of orchestrial and technical death metal works well together and if you weren’t too sure about ‘Agony’ then this may likely be their comeback for you. A quality album for all fans of symphonic and technical death metal.
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