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Fleshgod Apocalypse - Agony CD (album) cover

AGONY

Fleshgod Apocalypse

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.24 | 22 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
5 stars So you can't decide if you want to go to the opera or have it out at the mosh pit? What to do? Well, luckily there are options and FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE lays it all out as the perfect way to feel like you're getting a little culture while head banging until your eardrums bleed. AGONY is the third overall studio release following in the incremental footsteps of "Oracles" and the "Mafia EP." While on those two releases brutal death metal was the clear winner in the musical version of Predator Vs. Alien with the classical and symphonic aspects that the band incorporates being banished to the underworld where they would only be allowed to come up for air once in a while with only brief smatterings of their underlying importance in the musical structure. On AGONY we get a shift of power and the classical music is vying for dominance as it shares a fairly equally footing with the brutal death metal making this one of the most well balanced symphonic extreme metal albums i have ever heard.

On the very first track "Temptation" we get a dark and sombre taste of a Berlioz sounding "Symphonie Fantastique" with a haunted diva ushering in undulating rhythms that ratchet up the intensity that ultimately summon the metallic beast of the underworld allowing the cacophonous raucousness we call death metal to join the party and bombard us with the monstrous technical drumming of Francesco Ferrini doing his best to rip the classical aspects to shreds. Accordingly he is joined in by the insanely down tuned guitar dual guitar assaults and bass madness, however on AGONY unlike the previous two releases, the classical music has regained its power and now is in full control never letting itself to be diminished to second best. The result is nothing less of outstanding as neither the death metal aspects nor the classical aspects of the music compromise their integral physiognomy in the least bit making this one of the most triumphing releases of this sort of symphonic extreme metal.

I'm serious when i say don't think for one minute that the extremely brutal death metal aspects have been compromised by letting the orchestral elements shine through. Somehow FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE pulls this off with grace. While the majority of the album is highly aggressive on the death metal side with Tommaso Riccardi bantering out the most guttural and growly of death metal vocals alongside some of the best technical drumming skills in the musical world that serves as an anchor to the metal side even at the album's most mellow moments, there are plenty of passages where a more melodic contemplative side are allowed to reign such as on "The Deceit" where Riccardi trades off with bassist Paolo Rossi's clean vocal contributions. In addition there are many more pure symphonic non-metal moments that not only serve as bridges between the ten tracks that seamlessly run together but when the two genre styles are in full swing always is heard as an equal not being subjugated to second class. If that wasn't enough Cristiano Trionfera somehow fits neoclassical power metal guitar solos into the intact death metal sound.

Upon first listen i was a little disappointed as i felt the symphonic aspects dominated a little too much on this one in comparison with the previous two but after a few listens this prejudice literally disintegrated and the beauty of the balancing act between the two styles and the awesomeness of the arrangements and song structures sunk in. Once again, the classical music is the very fabric of the song structures and GODFLESH APOCALYPSE proves here that they are all classically trained musicians who are just a wee bit more caffeinated than the average Yo-Yo Ma's of the world! This is music that you can truly feel so old-worldly cultured in the mosh pit. You can feel like a hoity-toity bigwig for a nanosecond only to be shattered by extremely brutal and frenetic sonic attacks. The album remains really brutal but on "The Forsaking" a classical piano run is the dominant force having wrested control of the death metal and walks it on a leash but on "The Oppression" death chews that leash off and furiously regains its foothold. After all actors in this sonic cockfight are exhausted and call it a day, the finale "Agony" ends the highly energetic fusion affair with a nice Chopin inspired classical piano piece that instills a melancholic dread that leaves the listener feeling like tangled dude on the cover art devoid of hope, light and promise of resolution. Wickedly cool stuff! 4.5 round up!

siLLy puPPy | 5/5 |

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