Fleshgod Apocalypse – Agony (2011)

Posted: July 28, 2011 in Music

ex·treme: (adjective)
1. Most remote in any direction; outermost or farthest: the extreme edge of the field.
2. Being in or attaining the greatest or highest degree; very intense: extreme pleasure; extreme pain.
3. Extending far beyond the norm: an extreme conservative.
4. Of the greatest severity; drastic


Almost everywhere you look, you find “extreme” versions of everyday things in today’s society. Extreme burritos, extreme energy drinks, extreme martial arts, extreme sports, extreme savings, extreme cappuccinos. As one of the most popular descriptive terms in modern circulation, the word is more over-used than the bed sheets in Charlie Sheen’s apartment.

When used to describe music, the term wears a little thin as well. Far too many metal acts are described as “extreme.” In fact, I’ve always considered it a bit of overkill to even say “extreme metal.” Metal is already extreme in my book, and there’s no need to declare the fact twice. We don’t have “cheeseful cheese” or “bloody blood,” so why this?

The reason, I would guess, is that there are certain styles of metal that really don’t have a genre or defining aspect. Most of these get added to the list for lack of better labeling. And I guess I’m alright with that, since I really don’t care to read the phrase “melodic-gothic-brutal-death-symphonic-metal” ever again (which was actually published on a different site today.)

Nomenclatures aside, I will agree that the shoe does fit a few bands. For example, Behemoth is an extreme metal act – from the clothes, to the makeup, to the music. Everything “extends far beyond the norm,” so call it what you will.

As much as I hate to do it, I’m throwing the label on to one of metal’s newest bands, Fleshgod Apocalypse. Formed in Italy a few short years ago, the band quickly made a name for itself with their 2009 release Oracles, and gained further momentum with 2010’s EP Mafia.

On the eve of their new full-length, Agony(August 9th), the band has taken the road in North America for the 2011 Summer Slaughter Tour alongside co-headliners Whitechapel and The Black Dahlia Murder.

But what’s all the fuss about? Honestly, the band hasn’t been around long enough to cut their teeth properly, and with this being only their second complete album, it seems as though the cart may be in front of the horse a little.

Rest assured, though, that the hype behind these guys is well deserved. Through a meticulously-crafted, diverse approach to their music, Fleshgod Apocalypse has been able to create epic overtures of some of the most technically advanced metal I’ve ever heard.

The sound is anchored in death metal, but the ship itself is made up of elements of symphonic, operatic, technical, melodic, neo-classical and black metal influences. You might think that the amalgamation of all these styles would sink this vessel, but it actually makes the hull impenetrable.

What makes this album a special listen is the fact that there is nobody really captaining the excursion. It’s an “all-hands-on-deck” effort, with every member providing exemplary performances at their designated station. Tommaso Riccardi has a resonating, bellowing growl that spikes the evil meter, and doubles up by adding secondary guitar. Paolo Rossi adds a sensational bass groove that adds an extra dose of heaviness, Francesco Ferrini brings skillful, elegant piano layers to the mix, and Cristiano Trinfera provides some serious shredding and beautiful clean vocals throughout. Francesco Paoli mans the drums, and by “mans”, I mean totally owns them. He’s so clean and fast, that critics claim his drumming is studio-enhanced, but I can assure you this is not the case. He’s just that damn good. He plays with a calm, near-effortless approach, but the beats here are all his own.

But I’m not going to get too deep into each individual member here. This group is good because they are exactly that – a group. Each instrument blends perfectly with the next – from the strings, to the screams, to the beats, to the harmonies. They turn a cacophony of noise into something that is as exquisite as it is barbarous.

Agony may not be for everyone – the layers of sound might be a bit too much for the non-discerning ear, but if you like complex, technical bedlam that is majestically beautiful, this may just be the album you’ve been waiting for. We found it “extreme”ly enjoyable.


01. Temptation
02. The Hypocrisy
03. The Imposition
04. The Deceit
05. The Violation
06. The Egoism
07. The Betrayal
08. The Forsaking
09. The Oppression
10. Agony


MySpace: Link | Wiki: Link

  1. Sandoval says:

    This album slays. Thanks for the added awareness! Love from Italy!

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