Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: February 5, 2016
Italian technical Death Metal stalwarts, Fleshgod Apocalypse, return with King. This is the follow up to 2013’s utterly astounding Labyrinth, and it does not disappoint. The album opens slowly with the two minute symphonic march of “Marche Royale” before slamming into the epic “Into Aeternum.” Just after the symphonic elements reach a fever pitch, the guitars begin to play a very cool, and very fast, back and forth with the symphonic parts. It makes for a tremendously dynamic song where the brutality blends brilliantly with the choir and symphony. The brutality is front and center so when the clean vocal comes in midway through it transcends into this grandiose, soaring, so much more than Extreme Metal song. It’s absolutely brilliant! “Mitra” and “A Million Deaths” don’t quite reach the same fever pitch, but they are both excellent tunes in the same vein as “Into Aeternum” as well and will surely satisfy longtime fans.
“Cold As Perfection” is another one of the album’s many highlights. It’s slower grind and haunting choir remind me of a mix between Khold and King Diamond. The feel of “Syphilis” also reminds me of King Diamond’s darkest moments. From the narration to the growling vocal to the operatic vocal, the song becomes haunting as hell without losing the heavy elements that so often get lost in the mix when bands do this. The instrumental piano track, “King,” takes “Syphilis” out on a more intimate note and closes the album out in surprising fashion. There is no question that these songs were born to be played on theatrical stages.
This could have easily been a mediocre record after the exhausting creativity that I’m sure it took to make Labyrinth. The fact that this is better than Labyrinth is a testament to the fact that Fleshgod Apocalypse are one of the genre’s most important bands. King is the first great Extreme Metal release of 2016 and you’d be wise to check it out.
Reviewed by mark1340