Fleshgod Apocalypse – “King” (Nuclear Blast Records)
What impressed me about this Italian symphonic death metal band in 2013’s “Labyrinth” was their deep and meticulous composition that went well beyond a musical masterpiece into unleashing the emotional essence of their material unto the listener. Dark, operatic and bombastic, the sheer volume of the album and its ensuing power definitely ensured that the name of Fleshgod Apocalypse would be etched into my mind forever. Breathtaken at the prospect of “King” I find that the prior darkness and opera have now been substituted for a neo classical extravaganza the likes of which even the Caesars of old would be awed! While the band have taken a commendable view in likening the best of kingship in all of us, there’s no denying the bombastic and utterly imperious sound of this album – you can literally bask in its majestic glory as a royal yourself (or perhaps I should say ‘oneself’ ha ha). Renowned for their multiple vocal assault of clean, gruff and operatic styles delivered, that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the perfectionist professionalism of this album (try almost a year in the making) by this very classy band indeed. Massive orchestral arrangements with flowing cellos, violins and pianos matched by soaring, heavenly choirs and wailing femme soprano vocals meld beautifully with monster guitars churning out whirring riffs and neo classical soloing along with driving double bass beats on gargantuan epics like ‘Cold As Perfection’, ‘Mitra’ and ‘And The Vulture Beholds’. There’s a helluva lot of noise here, what with the band being multi instrumentalists, but what sets Fleshgod Apocalypse apart in their own league is how they arrange their material so that everything can not only be heard with clarity, but it all comes mesmerizingly together as classical romanticism meets death metal grooves in yet another superior package that is both kingly in name as well as nature!