Fleshgod Apocalypse – Veleno
Released: 24th May 2019
Fleshgod Apocalypse Lineup:
Francesco Paoli // Vocals, Guitars & Drums
Paolo Rossi // Clean Vocals & Bass
Francesco Ferrini // Piano & Orchestrations
Fleshgod Apocalypse Online:
The realm of breakneck death metal accompanied by soaring, beautiful symphonic sections, both musically and vocally, is without a doubt led by Fleshgod Apocalypse. Since their debut, they’ve pushed the boundaries of not only death metal, but symphony arrangements and even conceptual lyricism to lengths others could only stare at in wonder, shaking their jabot covered bodies in disbelief.
The new album is no different. Exploding out the gates like a nuclear meltdown, ‘Fury’ wastes no time in scalding the listener with a vitriolic mix of piano flourishes and thundering drums. Francesco Paoli featuring on vocals this time does not feel out of place in the slightest; in fact he slips right into the role as if he never left. The myriad of voices present in the song lends itself to a great album opener. A choir of decaying angels offer their vocal talents whilst Paoli lurks in the back, ready to tear through the atmosphere at any time in a bombastic rage. First single ‘Sugar’ follows very much the same vein. The most typically Fleshgod song on the album, it reflects a lot of their previous work on King, but is not the watermark for the rest of the album by any means.
Single ‘Carnivorous Lamb’ focuses much more on the dynamic relationship between surprising folk passages and massive machine gun drumming; interesting guitar solos and opera atmosphere. Paolo Rossi makes a grand entrance, his clean vocals sounding less refined and more manic than on previous releases. It makes the song mutlifaceted in a way that their older material is not. However, it becomes disorienting cavalcade of different tropes that fail to work in tandem overall; the singular pieces are thoroughly enjoyable, but some overstay their welcome, like Rossi’s vocals in this instance, or detract from the song as a whole
The latter half of the album, whilst more variegated in sonic texture, cohesively works more effectively – each song has a strong thematic identity. Like a well aged barolo raining from a pewter goblet onto a ravenous crowd, ‘Pissing on the Score’ employs the skills of Francesco Ferrini oh so artfully. A tinkling piano here, a choral arrangement there, droplets of string instruments thrown throughout; it’s truly a great Fleshgod Apocalypse song. ‘Absinthe’ is no different; the mid-paced tempo allows the orchestration to show itself more fully and not get obliterated by the technicality of the death metal aspects. A razor’s edge of balance is required and it’s perfectly achieved here.
Veronica Bordacchini’s vocals soar like an owl over the dark rugged landscape of the music, often punctuating moments with a hint of tenderness that the orchestration alone cannot offer. ‘The Day We’ll Be Gone’ is a triumphant piece that ascends to the climaxes of her voice and to the valleys of Paoli’s; a dark and brooding piece where her voice skims the landscape of the music like an owl on muffled wings at dusk. Her presence is always welcome and adds a sparkling layer atop Veleno’s poison.
Veleno is awash with brilliant ideas and technicality. The songs themselves are grandiose and thoroughly enjoyable, but the lack of extremes softens the sharp edges that Fleshgod had honed to perfection in previous releases. The drumming that Paoli exhibited in older albums only makes a showing in very limited bursts, and the subtle integration of orchestration to buoy and complement the more technical death metal facts seems to have been lost in favour of more prominent arrangements. Regardless, songs on this album as standalone items make a notable addition to the band’s discography, but as a whole album, there are some things to be desired.
Overall, Veleno is a feast of all the elements that make Fleshgod Apocalypse so enthralling. A smorgasbord of classical orchestration and death metal, accompanied by an enchanting choir of voices ranging from the angelic to the demonic. A solid addition to this years death metal releases.
Fleshgod Apocalypse – Veleno tracklisting:
- Carnivorous Lamb
- The Praying Mantis’ Strategy
- Worship and Forget
- Pissing on the Score
- The Day We’ll Be Gone
- Embrace the Oblivion