Rating:
9.0
Fleshgod Apocalypse - Agony
9 August 2011


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
11. Heartwork [Carcass cover] [iTunes bonus]


Ever wondered what would happen if you crossed the symphonies of Nightwish with a brutal death metal style? Well here's your answer; Fleshgod Apocalypse have gone from being one of the best underground death metal bands to one of the most over the top, symphonic and flamboyant death metal bands there are.

Now under the wing of Nuclear Blast, these Italian connoisseurs of classically influenced death metal have taken their previously crafted brand of brutal death metal and cranked every element up to eleven. Much more symphonic than the band's previous offerings, Agony is a brutal blend of death metal mashed together with the symphonies you would expect to hear from bands like Dimmu Borgir. The band are still technically phenomenal, the drums especially are lightning-fast and precise. The violent death metal outbursts have not been compromised here, but they have been coupled together with vast, bombastic symphonic passages that at times are face-meltingly colourful and exquisite, see "The Betrayal" and "The Violation".

Unfortunately there is a down side that accompanies the new symphonic edge, namely the use of strained, high-pitch and at-times annoying clean vocals. The clean vocals have a suitable place here and there infrequently within Agony, but in tracks such as "The Deceit" the token clean vocals sound as if their only purpose is to tell the listener "we're open-minded and pushing the envelope" as opposed to actually adding an extra layer of epic-ness to the music, as the initial intention probably was.

Regardless of the minor quirk with the clean vocals and ponderings of how authentic this material could sound live, Agony is a blisteringly intense, over-the-top death metal studio album that is successful in pushing the envelope to a higher, more colourful place in death metal. Perhaps the symphonic elements and clean vocals will be too much for die-hard death metal fans to endure, but for the majority Agony is the next step of progression that Fleshgod Apocalypse were always leaning towards with their classical influence in the first place. Any way you look at it, Agony is a fiery assault that you'd have to work hard to not enjoy.

--

Symphonic Death metal
Italy
Length: 49:45
Nuclear Blast

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Production: 10


Band profile: Fleshgod Apocalypse
Album: Agony


 



Written on 09.08.2011 by
Baz Anderson
Member of Staff since 2006.
More reviews by Baz Anderson ››



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Void Eater - 09.08.2011 at 01:38  
I think Macabre Eternal and Omnivium have been surpassed. New best death metal album of 2011. I just hope that they don't pile on more symphonics next time-this is basically the perfect mixture of symphinics and death metal, any more symphonics would drown out the riffs.
Troy Killjoy - 09.08.2011 at 01:42  
I remember when I reviewed Oracles, I said if they could just find a better mix of symphonic elements as opposed to just inserting them at the beginnings and endings of songs they'd have a masterpiece on their hands. And it looks like they've done it this time around. I've only listened to it a few times but I can confidently say it's one of the year's best. Like Void Eater said though, any more focus on the symphonic parts and you no longer have a death metal band. You have Septicflesh.
Absak - 09.08.2011 at 01:44  
I found it to be a complete piece of crap when compared to Oracles or Mafia, on it's own it's still pretty meh. A big letdown next to Morbid Angel and Illdisposed. No-one should EVER compare this to Septicflesh, EVER, that's just a big insult towards them in my opinion.
wormdrink414 - 09.08.2011 at 01:58  
Flamboyant is a good word to describe this, and I like over the top shit a lot, but with these guys I preferred the piano/symphonic bits when they were nice, short melodic surprises. Synth overkill here, imo.
Unhealer - 09.08.2011 at 03:41  
I gave only one spin to this record yesterday and I liked it a lot, it was a fun listen.
I'll give a better review when I listen to it again, but this is what I remember:
- Beast of a drummer. I'm intersted in checking if he can keep up live!
- The lack of riffs. I mean, guitars are all over, but by what I remember they only serve as background for the orchestra. Obviously this doesn't go at the solos, they were good, but I can't remember headbanging to a good riff.
- The orchestra is pure awesomeness.
- Clean vocals impressed me and I liked them (Here I have to disagree with you Baz). They kinda remind me of Vortex, still they are something I never listened before on a death metal band. But I also wonder if the guy can really pull it off live.

And that's all I think. I have to check the older material!
Angel_Lament - 09.08.2011 at 03:59  
Well-written review, and this album is really great, awesome symphony and great riffs, the only downside thing is that I felt like the Drumming was too "loud" and covered both the guitars and the symphonic parts...I think it needed to tune down a bit...thats all.
But other than that, awesome album!
ZGoten - 09.08.2011 at 04:10  
This album is great. I'm not a huge fan of brutal death metal, but the symphonic elements in this latest approach make all the difference for me. It really sounds like opera gone mad . . . fantastic!
Fat & Sassy! - 09.08.2011 at 10:47  
*reads review with a fickle attitude towards symphonic metal*
>_>
*goes out and gets album*
This better be good, Baz. D:<
iMorphball - 09.08.2011 at 12:21  
I thought it was a pretty boring album actually. Not much of the album shines through, nor does it shine completely on it's own. They're just trying to be like Septic Flesh, but their album turned out boring.

Meh.
Spirit Molecule - 09.08.2011 at 13:28  
I checked this album out after there has been so much talk of these guys on here and then i saw the rating of the review. But I wasn't impressed
Quite surprising that its already No 1 on the charts. Good to know that I'm not the only one who didn't really cum in my pants when i heard it
DevilishSong - 09.08.2011 at 14:23  
Good review but i think you have too optimistic view on music of this album , i adore their two previous work ( Oracles & Mafia ) but this one gone too far from what i expected to here from Brutal Death Metal or even Death Metal . as you said drums is good and i think it's the best part and if you suddenly remove its sound from the whole music , there would be almost nothing to show you " hey! this is a Death Metal " .
as a Death Metal fan i like riffs being in charge! even in some section . but when they tried to inject some more foreign element ( Classical , Symphonic , ... ) to their music in " Agony " now you see riff approximately hidden behind the kicks of drums and disappear among the symphonic atmosphere .
clean vocal is not that bad , they perform it in some part like the way that it is their unique style for clean vocal

i think " Agony " VS something like " Oracles " would definitely lose , but as independent work is good . anyway some people that don't like extreme side of Death Metal too much , will like this album better than somebody like me.
Numa - 09.08.2011 at 14:56  
Now I feel like a slipknot fan when they think they only listen to the greatest band out there.
Dangerboner - 10.08.2011 at 00:34  
I've been wondering something:

If a death metal band just adds keyboards to their music, does it automatically turn them into "symphonic" death metal? I never see people label Nocturnus as such.

I'm a little hesitant to check this album out. I love Oracles, but I couldn't make it through the music video they released a few weeks ago. I generally dislike clean singing in death metal, but I really can't stand keyboards. They sound so fake. Plus, they turned the midi up so high on the drums that I can barely tell that there's any guitars, lol
!J.O.O.E.! - 10.08.2011 at 03:08  
This reminds me of when Chandler (from Friends obviously) takes a girly bath with scented shit and bubbles and junk but takes in a toy battleship to make it more manly.

Or maybe having a girly bath on an actual battleship would be a more prudent metaphor.
Mikyz - 10.08.2011 at 08:56  
Yeah, I didn't like this very much, I don't think they're anywhere near the level of symphonic death bands like Hollenthon or Septic Flesh, the symphonic elements are just there as some kind of background buzzing and didn't seem relevant at all in the composition, there are no grandiose moments as there should be on symphonic albums. It does have its moments though, the piano track "The Agony" wasn't too bad. They're forgoing quality and replacing it with style, not in a good way though, like driving a Ferrari with someone annoying in the passenger seat.
Heka69 - 10.08.2011 at 09:58  
The production has gone a lot forward since Oracles and a little form Mafia, but I still fucking hate the (triggered) sound of the bass drum.
heavymetalnerd - 10.08.2011 at 19:06  
I've been waiting for YEARS for a Symphonic Death Metal band to come along. Now one not only exists, BUT IS FUCKING AWESOME AS WELL! Makes me wish I hadn't been half-unconscious during their set at the Summer Slaughter Tour....:wall:
strade - 11.08.2011 at 04:33  
Written by Mikyz on 10.08.2011 at 08:56

Yeah, I didn't like this very much, I don't think they're anywhere near the level of symphonic death bands like Hollenthon or Septic Flesh, the symphonic elements are just there as some kind of background buzzing and didn't seem relevant at all in the composition, there are no grandiose moments as there should be on symphonic albums. It does have its moments though, the piano track "The Agony" wasn't too bad. They're forgoing quality and replacing it with style, not in a good way though, like driving a Ferrari with someone annoying in the passenger seat.


Yep, completely agree. It's a decent album, but it's definitely overrated.
Daggon - 11.08.2011 at 18:03  
Well, I hope this is better than the more than overrated Septicflesh album...
Troy Killjoy - 11.08.2011 at 18:47  
Written by Daggon on 11.08.2011 at 18:03
Well, I hope this is better than the more than overrated Septicflesh album...

I felt Septicflesh's latest is extremely overrated and I loved this album. That should count for something.
R'Vannith - 12.08.2011 at 06:24  
Written by DevilishSong on 09.08.2011 at 14:23

anyway some people that don't like extreme side of Death Metal too much , will like this album better than somebody like me.


Works for me, under normal circumstances I can't stand brutal death but this is an exception. Though I can't see why someone who likes both classical music and brutal death wouldn't find this album enjoyable, they're mixed to perfection on this album.

While I wouldn't say that SeptiFlesh's latest is overrated exactly, this certainly delivers far more.
malaikat - 12.08.2011 at 11:50  
Agreed with some of the previous comments. It's not symphonic death metal, it's just some lazy-ass riffs with boring symphonic noise + some excellent drumming. But if I want excellent drumming and no good "meat" on them, I'll just listen to drum'n'bass. Oracles and Mafia are way better, but I figure "Agony" is good as a gateway album, i.e. if you listen to Nightwish and you want to get into death metal.
DevilishSong - 12.08.2011 at 12:59  
Written by R'Vannith on 12.08.2011 at 06:24

Written by DevilishSong on 09.08.2011 at 14:23

anyway some people that don't like extreme side of Death Metal too much , will like this album better than somebody like me.


Works for me, under normal circumstances I can't stand brutal death but this is an exception. Though I can't see why someone who likes both classical music and brutal death wouldn't find this album enjoyable, they're mixed to perfection on this album.




i like Brutal Death & Classical both , but i don't think they're mixed to perfection on Agony . for me it's some kind of " lost identity " , not this nor that ... but as someone said , it's good as a gateway in border of musical genres .
Kuroboshi - 12.08.2011 at 16:32  
This album blowed my mind! They really mixed it nicely. One problem, that some people have pointed out though, is that the guitars are a bit to drowned out. A shame, since their riffing is absolutely killer on Oracles and Mafia. However, it is a small problem when the symphonic is top-notch, and the drummer is my favorite in metal.
Troy Killjoy - 12.08.2011 at 17:02  
Written by Kuroboshi on 12.08.2011 at 16:32
One problem, that some people have pointed out though, is that the guitars are a bit to drowned out.

Considering how they progressed with this release, just imagine where they'll go next time around. They could mix everything perfectly and destroy our preconceptions of death metal as a whole.
Kuroboshi - 12.08.2011 at 19:01  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 12.08.2011 at 17:02

Written by Kuroboshi on 12.08.2011 at 16:32
One problem, that some people have pointed out though, is that the guitars are a bit to drowned out.

Considering how they progressed with this release, just imagine where they'll go next time around. They could mix everything perfectly and destroy our preconceptions of death metal as a whole.

I truly hope you're right. And if they continue to produce albums the pace they have until now, I guess we'll know by 2012.
Parasomnia - 12.08.2011 at 21:56  
When I first heard this album, I though "extremely overrated." To me, it sounded like nothing more than Brutal Death Metal with a Symphony. However, now on the sixth listen through, I see this album is SO much more than could be realized on the first few listen through's. It takes a while to get into, but once I did, I realized how impeccably everything ties together until the beautiful, haunting end, with Agony. Also, the clean vocal's are merely "clean vocals." They give the songs a very bombastic atmosphere, and I don't usually like clean vocals in Extreme Death Metal. This is an incredible album.
snake? snaaaake! - 13.08.2011 at 02:28  
This album is like SepticFlesh, but good.
Danny Devilto - 13.08.2011 at 09:55  
They seemingly sound like ''Septicflesh'' but they are totally different band when comes to songwriting. So far, the award of best use of symphonic elements and orchestrations would go to ''Transcending Bizarre'' but now I have to count on ''Fleshgod Apocalypse'' as well. An amazing album from every aspect...
whitepawel - 14.08.2011 at 14:18  
Great style, bad compositions. Another one...
bloodwrage - 16.08.2011 at 07:04  
If I didn't already know the band, you would have turned me off of them with that first sentence buddy.
Heretic God - 17.08.2011 at 01:10  
Why do people keep comparing these guys to Septicflesh? So any Death Metal band that decides to put symphonies in their music are automatically trying to be like Septicflesh? TGM has to be the most overrated album in the past few years. SF only started putting symphonies in their albums on Communion which was released in 2008, Fleshgod was formed in 2007 with the goal to combine Classical music and Death Metal and the only reason Oracles wasn't fully orchestrated was because of the unstable line-up at the time. So i'm pretty sure they had this idea long before SF changed their sound. Agony is a fucking beast of an album, when Fleshgod releases an album with a real orchestra, it will destroy everything.
Swordbearer - 18.08.2011 at 11:09  
I think it is a great album. It may rely a little bit too much on the orchestrations, but it is still of an exceptionally high level. Altough I wouldn't mind the next album being a tad more guitar-oriented.
SpawnOfObsession - 18.08.2011 at 22:00  
Written by Danny Devilto on 13.08.2011 at 09:55

They seemingly sound like ''Septicflesh'' but they are totally different band when comes to songwriting. So far, the award of best use of symphonic elements and orchestrations would go to ''Transcending Bizarre'' but now I have to count on ''Fleshgod Apocalypse'' as well. An amazing album from every aspect...

heard "scrambled defuncts" ? they are pretty awesome.
JCJen7 - 21.08.2011 at 06:25  
Written by Heretic God on 17.08.2011 at 01:10

SF only started putting symphonies in their albums on Communion which was released in 2008, Fleshgod was formed in 2007 with the goal to combine Classical music and Death Metal and the only reason Oracles wasn't fully orchestrated was because of the unstable line-up at the time. So i'm pretty sure they had this idea long before SF changed their sound.


Sorry to burst your bubble, but Sumerian Demons (2003) was already pretty heavy on the orchestration for Septic Flesh (at the time). Admittedly, it was still used more for atmosphere and feeling than a major part of the music, but it was definately there.

And, even if Sumerian Demons had 0 hint of symphonic influences in it, with your logic Septic Flesh had been thinking about it since 2004, ya know? All I am saying, is if someone "had the idea" first, it would have been Septic Flesh. All that is pretty stupid though, and not really relevant to anything, so I'll digress into Oracles not being fully orchestrated.

Oracles wasn't just not fully orchestrated, there was no orchestration at all. It was simply death metal, with bits of classical piano for intros and outtros.

In my opinion anyways. Both good bands, not all that similar.
Maxx666 - 21.08.2011 at 10:24  
Yeah this one totally gets my vote... me think this could be even better than Oracles... Don't know for sure but as Troy said, they seemed to have fixed some minor flaws in their previous releases and finally put forth a masterpiece...
Heretic God - 22.08.2011 at 00:31  
Written by JCJen7 on 21.08.2011 at 06:25

Oracles wasn't just not fully orchestrated, there was no orchestration at all. It was simply death metal, with bits of classical piano for intros and outtros.


There was alot more than piano in Oracles. There were orchestral parts in In Honour of Reason, a huge classical piece at the end of As Tyrants Fall and choirs at the end of Infection of the White Throne, yes the bulk of the album was Death Metal but from what i've heard from the band they wanted Oracles to sound like Agony, fully orchestrated. That was their goal from the beginning. Communion was a change in sound for Septicflesh, the sound that some people are assuming Fleshgod copied, my point was Fleshgod had the idea long before Communion was released so to say they are copying anyone is rediculous. You're not bursting anyones "Bubble", i'm well aware of the atmosphere and orchestral influences in Sumerian Daemons, but the sound of that album was different than that of their newer releases and considering Fleshgod was formed before the release of Communion with the goal of combining both classical music and Death metal, they couldn't have possibly stolen the idea from them.
Prometheus - 07.09.2011 at 17:52  
Written by Absak on 09.08.2011 at 01:44

I found it to be a complete piece of crap when compared to Oracles or Mafia, on it's own it's still pretty meh. A big letdown next to Morbid Angel and Illdisposed. No-one should EVER compare this to Septicflesh, EVER, that's just a big insult towards them in my opinion.

septic flesh is more tecnic on symphonic elements . but fleshgod its a little disturbing
s_t_s - 25.10.2011 at 16:39  
Just had my hand on both Oracles and Agony and I love both ! Still hard to separate tracks (unlike Septicflesh latest album that I truly love). I would rather take each album like a very long single track with different variations.
elekctric - 22.12.2011 at 10:43  
I have to say I heard it once. On a friends raving of the band and wasn't really sure why he loved em. It put me to sleep. Maybe it was the herb I smoked that day or something but, it kinda sounded like noise, and I personally love messed up(insert adjective) heavy music etc.... But I didn't get it I guess. And I haven't still. Saved me some money on cds for the year anyhow.
Passenger - 24.01.2012 at 11:21  
The Violation is insane! Haven't heard the rest of the album, but that one song is a punch in the face.

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