Album Review: Fleshgod Apocalypse’s King


Things to like about Fleshgod Apocalypse:

They have a wine.

Their pianist/orchestrator Francesco Ferrini is now a full-time member and giving lessons on the road (“Choose from piano, MIDI orchestration or composition.”)

And they do a pretty sweet take on symphonic metal. At their best.

King, the Italian band’s fourth album, is supposedly a concept album about “the fear-based corruption of human beings and its subsequent effects on global society.” Which means you’ll have to put up with occasional spoken word bits, which strike me as either unnecessary narration or a lousy TED Talk (like this nugget: “Don’t let the illusion of perfection seduce you or you will be lost forever,” as told during the otherwise furious “Cold as Perfection”).

So there are serious moments on King when the album strays from what it does well—sweeping metal anthems that could Braveheart-inspire the troops—to dive a bit into “atmosphere,” or tracks that just serve to break up the Sturm und Drang. Sure, the title track is works as a solid piano solo, and the operatic vocals in the Schubert-inspired “Paramour (Die Leidenschaft Bringt Leiden)” are pretty, but … why?

No, with Fleshgod, we live for the powerful moments, when the band’s epic nature collides with its heavy side. See: the dramatic “Healing Through War,” the Elfman-playfulness juxtaposed over the start-stop thrash of “The Fool,” the absolute cacophony of “Mitra.”

On the latter, the band comes across less like a rediscovered Savatage and more like a soundtrack to a demon army.

And that’s the Apocalypse you want.

Fleshgod Apocalypse’s King comes out tomorrow, Friday, February 5, on Nuclear Blast. You can stream the track “Gravity” here and pre-order the album here.

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