Friday, July 31, 2009

Fleshgod Apocalypse - Oracles

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Most people are of the view that Italy is a highly unlikely place for death metal bands to originate and such bands only come from Scandinivia, England or Germany.And though Ephel Duath and Lacuna Coil might have come from Italy, they can hardly be said to have played death metal. But in the end Fleshgod Apocalypse simply squashed that notion with their high quality brutal death metal interspersed with classical orchestral elements in their songs, which simply leaves the listener in a sense of awe making him to desire more from the album. Oracles is a promising debut and solid first attempt by the band at combining brutal death elements with finer aspects of classical music. And doing so they have clearly steered past the risk of sounding unmemorable and avoided the trap of sounding like other mediocre bands in the genre.

On Oracles, the band plays intricate yet brutal form of death metal that many of the established bands of this genre have perfected and Fleshgod Apocalypse are certainly as good as other well known bands like Hour of Penance, Ulcerate, Obsura. But what sets them apart from these bands is the inclusion of more neo-classically inspired structures which creates a strange sense of anticipation to kick in. The introduction of these classical elements may seem like a musical gimmick to create their own niche in the genre. But as you progress deeper into the album, you soon realize that the classical elements are more than just a gimmick. In addition to the piano pieces used in various interludes, the songs are structured in a classical aspect , progressing in complete steps before peaking. The rest of the bands sound revolve around standard technical death riffs which are consistently backed by solid rhythm section of death metal drumming of rapid fire double bass and blastbeats. However the bass falls short on audibility and is rarely headr in few choice moments.

The combinatin of technical death influence with classical elements, mainly orchestral piano elements are best noted in As Tyrants Fall and Embodied Deception. With the latter featuring rapid piano run abruptly intervened by guitar riffs and brief spurts of audible bass work. Inspite of their all out classical approach to the album, there are moments of total sonic destruction with majestic overtones, like in Requiem in SJ Minore. Similar parts appear on other tracks as well, in the rest of the album, but most remarkable of them all is the title track. With a nearly two minute piano piece towards the end of the album, the track clearly speaks for everything the album had to say for itself. That being said the bulk of the material is still absolutely breathtaking, in both savagery and complexity and likely as good as anything you will ever hear.

Although the vocal delivery was getting monotonous towards the end, Fleshgod Apocalypse have marked a promising beginning with Oracles. Striking a nice balance between death and classical pieces, Fleshgod Apocalypse have shown that the combination of these two elements can strike a perfect chord.
With enough variety to keep them interested for the full 40 minutes, as well as containing enough nuances and memorable parts to warrant decent replay value.

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