Can you imagine how Dimmu Borgir and Xerath sound on crack? Well Fleshgod Apocalypse is the answer to that question. As one of the most intense releases we have heard in 2011, “Agony” is by far a very though cookie to digest since there is just too much shit going on at the same time, and it’s awesome.
The first impression the listener will get from the album is that this is just another overly exaggerated orchestral approach to extreme music. “The Hypocrisy” delivers ridiculous orchestrations (although very simple ones) on top of a brutal Death Metal foundation, something that might seem rather disconnected at first. The female sounding vocals (might be a dude) seem ripped off straight from the last Dimmu Borgir album and a bit of the darker atmosphere also sound very familiar.
However, the magic in “Agony” happens once you listen to the songs for a few more times. Once you start peeling away the layers of orchestral arrangements, growls, female vocals and you get down to the basis of the music: the guitar work and the drumming. After filtering out all the orchestrations (that are very high on the mix in our opininion), the guitar work is stellar as you can hear in track like “The Imposition”, “The Egoism”, “The Betrayal” and “The Forsaking”. Also, the drumming is pretty intense and keeps everything very aggressive.
In our favorite song “The Forsaking”, we can easily appreciate all layers of what’s going on, probably due to the ‘slower’ pace of the track. This majestic song allows the melodic aspect of things to nicely shine and still be within the confines of the band’s very technical and well crafted approach to music. The band members are clearly technically gifted, but we can’t help to wonder if this is all just studio magic and the band actually sounds like this live (it would be amazing if they did).
While we think that Fleshgod Apocalypse is not re-inventing the wheel, there is enough substance and quality in this release to catch the listener’s attention and create some massive moshpits when played live. One thing we can’t seem to get over is the annoying ‘epic’ clean vocals that nicely contrast things, but make our ears bleed. The overall impression of an album like “Agony” is devastating, there is just too much things going on and this will lose some people, but if you hang on, this will be one hell of a ride.
|Band: Fleshgod Apocalypse
|Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release: August 9th, 2011
|Genre: Technical/Symphonic Death Metal