Brace yourself as Fleshgod Apocalypse unleash 'Labyrinth', their most exciting album to date. It's the third album from the Italian symphonic death Metal five piece and follow-up to 2011s 'Agony', showcasing once again their unique blend of technical death Metal combined with symphonic elements and for this new album they have honed with precision their unique traits to produce an amazingly insane and interesting listen.
Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Tommaso Riccardi explains further about the album: "The concept of this album is based on the myth of the Labyrinth of Knossos and every character related to it. We focused on the philological aspect in order to represent all the elements of the classic world and, through a manic and meticulous research, we managed to create a metaphor with our times, as the maze can be associated with the endless search for what we really are."
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From the opening notes of the first of eleven tracks you are confronted with an intense wall of sound. This is a very busy album almost end to end, aside from a couple of palate cleansing instrumentals; the brief, guitar based 'Prologue' which took me by surprise when it lead seamlessly into 'Epilogue'.
I wasn't prepared to get hit by the intensity again so quickly, and the final track, 'Labyrinth', which is a beautiful dramatic piano led piece, which is initially visited in the opening minute, and you get the full version at the end, much needed after such an intense listen.
You need several listens to take this entire album in, there is so much to discover.
The sense of atmosphere and excitement starts to build from the moment the album starts, a creaking, heavy door opens, footsteps, sinister breathing becomes more rapid and then the soaring piano and symphonic elements are introduced as 'Kingborn' begins and from this point on, it is intense. A cleverly crafted frenzy of classical vocals, harsh and screams, frantic drum work, with some fabulous guitar elements worked in.
I don't have a favourite track; this is an album on which all are of the same excellent quality and because of the conceptual nature they need to co-exist to tell the story. The orchestration is ambitious yet brilliantly executed, to create something if this intensity and not have it sounding like a jumble takes a lot of skill, much of this is thanks to Francesco Ferrini, pianist and orchestrator who joined the band full time for 'Agony' and is behind the highly ambitious orchestration. The tracks flow well after each other, at times seamlessly, making for a consistent listen.
I like that they have gone with a concept and developed it; I always find concept albums fascinating and enjoy the way all the tracks tie together in a story. If you are familiar the Greek myth then it puts the whole thing into even better context.
I think this is an excellent album and can't find fault with any element. Fleshgod Apocalypse are now truly a musical force to be reckoned with.