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Musically diverse doesn’t begin to describe Fleshgod Apocalypse’s ‘Agony’. Where their debut ‘Oracles’, though a very impressive debut, lacked in dynamics here and there, and the classical music element of their follow up EP ‘Mafia’ marked a step in a direction that was more evolved, ‘Agony’ takes the band further into their own and puts them forward as a serious contender for the best album of 2011. As far as the technical death metal side goes, this is untouchable. Paoli’s drums are as fast as ever. In fact, given the tempos, time changes, and time signatures that he effortlessly handles, I’m convinced that he’s not human. The guitar work of Riccardi and Trionfera, from riffs to lead breaks to melodies is astounding, heavy in all the right places with the right touch where it’s needed, and Rossi’s bass ties the battery together perfectly. Vocally, the guttural grunts, the death growls and the clean melodic parts are all present and correct, and the classical side of the band, thanks to the work of Trionfera and Ferrini, are embellished with magnificent orchestral arrangements and a female vocal (‘The Egoism’ is particularly astounding). Case in point is the spectacularly chilling opener ‘Temptation’ whose haunting sounds build into something of epic magnitude. From ‘The Hypocrisy’ through to ‘The Oppression’, ‘Agony’ has machine gun riffs and drums in abundance. The moving piano work (check the title track for a prime example) and the deeply atmospheric orchestral arrangements add weight upon dramatic weight to the songs which, due to a brilliantly-balanced mix, retain the utmost level of death metal savagery. Stefano “Saul” Morabito must be applauded for his production work on the album. It’s crisp and crunchy, heavy and clear, and the songs breathe mightily bloodthirsty breaths. Sonically and symphonically charged, it’s very difficult to find fault with ‘Agony’. Maybe that the battery is relentless will be too much for some, but this heavy, melodic, epic, and intense sophomore album is an unparalleled and masterful work from a band that have outdone themselves. And most of their peers.
Nuclear Blast
Review by Jason Guest
19th August 2011
1) Temptation
2) The Hypocrisy
3) The Imposition
4) The Deceit
5) The Violation
6) The Egoism
7) The Betrayal
8) The Forsaking
9) The Oppression
10) Agony
"...a serious contender for the best album of 2011."