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Fleshgod Apocalypse - "Agony" (CD)

Fleshgod Apocalypse - "Agony" CD cover image

"Agony" track listing:

1. Temptation (1:47)
2. The Hypocrisy (5:31)
3. The Imposition (4:58)
4. The Deceit (6:03)
5. The Violation (4:19)
6. The Egoism (6:22)
7. The Betrayal (5:31)
8. The Forsaking (5:37)
9. The Oppression (6:04)
10. Agony (3:34)

Reviewed by on August 4, 2011

"'Agony' is an album that should be heard by all fans of brutal death metal, symphonic metal or avant garde."

I never thought that I'd associate the words “unfathomably heavy” and “opera” before, but Fleshgod Apocalypse are just that; heavy, brutal opera. I've always felt that symphonic metal bands like Kamelot and Dimmu Borgir often sacrificed brutality to play around with keyboards and orchestras. Fleshgod Apocalypse completely avoid that stereotype, making symphonic brutal death metal that doesn’t compromise when it comes to punching you in the face.

Fleshgod Apocalypse packs equal amounts of awesome and amazing into every song. The riffs, solos and drumming are all incredibly competent, but it's when the band brings in a full opera with blast beats that they really come into their own. Not that Fleshgod Apocalypse are generic without the operatic vocals and orchestrations, but it's the sum of Fleshgod Apocalypse's parts that make “Agony” the masterpiece that it is.

The best part is that the songwriting times every change perfectly, which really works in the band's favor, since they abstain from traditional pop song structures. This is an album where every song has something new to discover in it each time you listen to it, despite having a 50-minute length. While there are no standout tracks, that's mostly due to everything being so well-crafted that everything is equally amazing.

Sadly, many of the male clean vocals come out in a falsetto that sounds somewhat nasally and can come across as annoying, even if they do fit the music. The outro title track is not only out of place, but pointless filler that lacks atmosphere and emotion. These are still minor faults, given how good the rest of the album is, but they are noticeable flaws.

Minor complaints aside, “Agony” is an album that should be heard by all fans of brutal death metal, symphonic metal or avant garde. It's an achievement that will hopefully bring Fleshgod Apocalypse into the elite of the death metal scene, since it's simply that good.

Highs: Interesting song structures, proves that symphonic metal isn't for wimps, every member of the band is insanely telented, great riffs

Lows: Clean vocals are somewhat irritating, outro is unnecessary and adds nothing to the album

Bottom line: Different enough to stand on its own, with enough brutality to please elitists

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)