Italian technical death metal outlet, Fleshgod Apocalypse, have truly made a name for themselves since their formation in 2007 in the extreme metal community. Now, with three albums under their belt, they release their fourth album, KING, at the beginning of 2016, 2 years after their highly praised, Labyrinth, was unleashed into the stratosphere.
Fleshgod Apocalpse have always been a death metal band that incorporated orchestral elements into their music but now with KING, they present to the listener a true form of symphonic death metal. While they may be combining two completely different genres, when done right they work really well. The album starts off with an epic instrumental track titled, ‘Marche Royale,’ which sounds like a piece of music you’d hear in a film before a battle scene. Marche Royale eventually leads into the catastrophic, ‘In Aeternum,’ a heavy composition featuring some awesome dual guitar work and great melody. While guitars are still the main driving force of the music the orchestral elements have become much more significant and also, though KING may not be as heavy as their previous work, the music is much more complex. Everything from the song structure to the lyrics.
Though the album is not strictly a concept album, it’ is heavily based around a narrative concept. According to the band’s vocalist, Tomasso Riccardi, the story is based around a court during the renaissance period, between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, and each song is focused on the different characters that are found in the court. For instance, the first single of the album, “The Fool,” looks at the fool in the court which was supposedly a role in the court that was being lost. The Fool represents the new album perfectly and is why the band decided it should be the first single.
If you’re already well equipped with the sounds of Fleshgod Apocalypse, you can hear how much they’ve matured since their 1st release, Oracles. They’re much better song writers which you can here in tracks like “Mitra” and “Healing Through War” which both have cohesive song structures and are kept tightly nipped. Complexity also comes in the form of diversity and this time round, the Italian death metal giants have experimented more which ultimately leads to a better listening experience. From more melody, more symphonic elements to even a traditional opera track featured on the record, ‘Paramour (Die Leidenschaft Bringt Leiden).
There aren’t many flaws and it’s a nearly perfect listening experience. Anyone from a Nightwish fan to a Cannibal Corpse veterinarian could enjoy this album. The first thing that came to mind when I was listening to the album is Carach Angren’s latest album, This is No Fairytale, however. It’s a lot lighter than that. Fans who like Fleshgod Apocalypse and are into them because of the technical death metal elements might be left feeling disappointed because of how light their music is this time round in comparison to their old work. Of course it still fits into the death metal sub category but it’s nothing like the phenomenal tracks, “Thru our Scars” or “As Tyrants Fall.” The song “Gravity,” which was the album’s second single is the weakest track on the album because it doesn’t really go anywhere. Fleshgod Apocalypse are usually good at bringing a track together in some epic way but it’s just anti climatic.
However, I personally love the new direction the band are taking. They’ve seriously got it right with the symphonic death metal style and the new album is a great addition to their already impressive discography. The band have really proved why they are slowly becoming one of the biggest names in extreme metal with KING.
1. Marche Royale
2. In Aeternum
3. Healing through War
4. The Fool
5. Cold as perfection
7. Paramour (Die Leidenschaft Bringt Leiden)
8. And the Vulture Beholds
10. A Million Deaths
Playing time: 1.47
Record Label: Nuclear Blast