Fleshgod Apocalypse - _Agony_
(Nuclear Blast, 2011)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (8 out of 10)
Ever wondered how it would be like if Richard Wagner was alive today and composed something with a metal band? Of course you have, you're a highly devoted metal fan that recognizes any form of darkness, evil or hate if placed in any kind of music. Fleshgod Apocalypse's second album comes under the name _Agony_, and it presents something that's very close to that aforementioned imagination. They didn't actually resurrect Wagner from the dead because it's impossible; instead they added some very evil-sounding orchestrations in all the tracks.

The orchestrations used here are the main reason why _Agony_ is such a colorfully explosive album; much more so than its rather monochromatic predecessor _Oracles_. The introductory track "Temptation" gives some indication that something serious is lurking in the shadows, and then "The Hypocrisy" fires off on all cylinders with its catchy melodies and vicious riffing. "The Deceit" introduces some long-breathed screams of agony and a guitar solo with a slightly Middle-Eastern tinge to it that perfectly fits the vocals. The band's compositional versatility shines on "The Egoism" with its decreased amount of blasting and increased amount of female vocals and guitar melodies, and on the swansong "Agony", which is only played on the piano and serves as a fitting album closer.

The smooth orchestral transition from "The Deceit" to the outstanding "The Violation" is one of this album's strongest highlights. Now that's the track that screams Wagner the most. The riffing and drumming are absolutely ruthless, and they are accompanied by a brilliantly orchestrated melody that exponentially increases the intensity, and then comes a beautifully phrased guitar solo to complete the track. The same style of poignant guitar work shows up again on "The Betrayal", which happens to be the most aggressive and violent piece on this record. You may feel the brutality taking its toll on you, but "The Forsaking" will prove a good fit where it comes in. It's a slower, more spacious number with the snare and bass drums being hit a lot less frequently.

If I had to be anal about this riveting forty-nine minute session of _Agony_, I'd point out that the absence of beats is a little obvious. The blasting is unstoppable and can get confusing at times. One more thing to point out is that in spite of putting in some great solos all around, they could have been much easily imprinted in my memory if they were just a tad longer. But putting my technical nit-picking aside, Fleshgod Apocalypse deserves some massive kudos for this record. It is a record that delivers the emotion it presents itself under and one that makes the Italian flag a tad bigger on the European death metal map.

Contact: http://www.myspace.com/fleshgodapocalypse

(article published 30/9/2011)

11/10/2013 A El Naby 8.5 Fleshgod Apocalypse - Labyrinth
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