(Today we have not one but two reviews of the just-released album, Agony, by Fleshgod Apocalypse. Israel Flanders turns in this one.)
This is the very image and sound of death approaching you.
Let’s get something straight from the get-go: This is a no-holds-barred, no-messing-around, no-nonsense, non-stop symphonic blitzkrieg of insurmountable proportions that may very well top The Monolith Deathcult’s legendary sophomore album Triumvirate.
Yes. I just said it.
If you’re looking for ham-fisted forced diversity, get the fuck out. If you’re looking for pretentious “boundary breaking” and lots of pretty, clean vocal sections to make it feel “sophisticated,” I highly suggest you turn in your brutal-ass war-bringer club membership card. This is metal, in all of its epitomizing glory.
There are only three ingredients here: guitars tuned to B, copious amounts of blazing speed, and brutality with the heft and weight of a bag full of sledgehammers being flung at you by by an iron golem out of the most badass of fantasy realms. Did I forget the orchestra? You know why I didn’t include it as an ingredient? Orchestras are brutal. Got a problem with that concept? Didn’t think so. (more after the jump . . .)
This won’t be a long review, as there is not much to tell beyond what can easily be witnessed. If you all were smart and would just check out the video for the song “The Violation”, you’d know what you need to know. THE SOUND OF A LOCUST PLAGUE LEAVING DEATH, DEVASTATION, AND DESOLATION EVERYWHERE IN ITS WAKE.
Yeah, there is the eerie opening instrumental “Temptation” weaving its way into the majesty that is “The Hypocrisy”, the macabre, impending doom of “The Forsaking”, with its haunting piano interludes calling forth only the blackest of abysses, or the title track ending in a sorrowful piano lamentation, but among these are nothing but slabs of the fastest, thickest, and most enrapturing walls of orchestral cacophony ever to grace your unworthy ears.
The blazing riffs and torrential neoclassical shredding of Tommaso Riccardi and Cristiano Trionfera rip the cosmos apart with the most graceful superiority. Paolo Rossi creates the behemoth-sized undercurrent that is the bass. Drummer Francesco Paoli is, in essence, the sound of a meteor shower destroying the earth. And to top it off, Francesco Ferrini delivers superb orchestral and piano compositions, creating feelings of absolute dread and horror.
Also, did I mention that Riccardi, Trionfera, Rossi, and Paoli all do vocals? Yes, that’s right, these men have the voices of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, respectively. I would probably classify Rossi’s operatic wails as Pestilence, since he creates one of the truly haunting and infectious elements of this band’s sound.
The production? It’s as massive as the moon itself. Everything is thick, loud, yet reproduced with perfect clarity. This will be the best drum kit you’ve ever heard. Don’t believe me? Listen to “The Violation” again and cut the shit. The guitar tone is meaty and growling, as if a blood-drenched 50-foot serpent were rising from the earth to strangle and suffocate all in its writhing path. The bass is a massive leviathan of boom, and the various sounds of string instruments and piano cut through the wall of sound and create an overriding ambience that blots out the sun itself.
Do the right thing. Buy this album.